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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

European GDP, 4th Quarter 2015:  Eurostat has released its initial estimate for the European economy which showed quarter-on-quarter growth of +0.3% for both the Euro-zone and the EU28 as a whole at the end of 2015.  For the year as a whole, GDP grew by +1.5% in the euro-zone and by +1.8% for the EU28 overall.

Among the countries for whom the Q4 data has been published, only Finland and Greece saw their economies contract in the 4th quarter;  as both of these also had a negative trend in the previous period, they meet the definition of being in recession.

You can download the Eurostat News Release from their web-site at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat or request it from MTA.

European Industrial Production, December 2015:  Eurostat has also released its December figures for industrial production and they show a fall in total output compared to November of -1.0% for both the Euro-zone and the EU28 as a whole.  For 2015 overall, total industrial production increased, compared to 2014, by +1.4% in the Euro-zone and by +1.7% for the EU28.

Looking in a little more detail, output of Capital Goods in the Euro-zone were -1.9% lower than in November 2015 and -2.6% down on a year earlier.  For the EU28, these changes were -1.6% and -1.4% respectively.

On a 12-month basis, among the 22 Member States for whom the December 2015 figure is available, total industrial production increased in 13 and fell in 9;  the fastest growth was in Ireland (+18.5%) and Hungary (+6.9%), with the largest reductions being in Netherlands (-9.4%) and Estonia (-8.8%).

You can download the Eurostat News Release from their web-site at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat or request it from MTA.

CBI Forecast for the UK, February 2016:  Although the latest forecast from the CBI continues to expect sound growth in domestic demand, they have downgraded their GDP growth predictions (compared to those made last November) for 2016 to +2.3% (from +2.6%) and for 2017 to +2.1% (from +2.4%).  Data revisions account for about two-thirds of the downgrade to the 2016 predictions, but beyond that, household spending is slower and the drag from net trade is greater.  In 2017, softer growth also bears down on the forecast for fixed investment.

On this latter point, investment intentions in the CBI surveys remains firm for the year ahead and the CBI expect business investment to continue to grow solidly, although the forecast has been downgraded slightly.  They identify the EU referendum as a risk here, as the uncertainty could cause businesses to hold off capital spending, although they admit that there is little sign of this so far.

If you would like a copy of the forecast summary and the accompanying slide pack, please contact Geoff Noon at MTA (e-mail:  gnoon@mta.org.uk).

UK Machine Tool Exports & Imports, 2015:  An initial crunching of the data shows that UK exports of machine tools in 2015 were worth £432.2 million;  this is a reduction of -13.2% compared to the total for 2014.  On the same basis, imports of machine tools fell by -14.6% to £514.1 million.

Exports to the European Union fell by -18% to £192.8 million and shipments to the rest of the world were worth £239.4 million, a fall of -9% compared to 2014.  Arrivals of machine tools from the European Union were worth £249.8 million, a fall of -14% compared to 2014, while imports from the rest of the world fell by -15% to £264.4 million.

On the export front, deliveries to both China (£57.5 million) and the USA (£53.4 million) were up by about 4% on the respective figures for 2014 and there was also an increase in exports to Mexico (£8.3 million, +105%), but the latter is more a reflection on a bad year in 2014 than of strength in 2015.

Imports from most of the major sources fell in 2015, with only Germany (£130.1 million, +0.2%) and Turkey (£6.7 million, +12%) bucking the trend.

We will be working on the data for other parts of the manufacturing technology sector over the coming couple of weeks and further analysis will be included in the 2016 edition of Basic Facts which will be published at MACH.

US Cutting Tool Market Report, December 2015:  Further to last week’s report on the machine tool market trend in the USA, AMT have not published the equivalent figures for the cutting tool market.  For 2015 as a whole it shows a fall of -5.0% compared to the 2014 figure, based on the totals reported by companies participating in the program.

They comment that the year started strongly, but there was a significant decline in the 2nd half of 2015, driven by falling oil prices and the impact of the strong US$ on the US manufacturing sector.

You can access the US CTMR News Release on the AMT web-site at www.amtonline.org or request it from MTA.