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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

ONS Economic Review:  Further to the release of the data on the UK economy by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week, they have now released a review of the economy as a whole which pulls together various strands of data.  It highlights the impact of the Olympics and the changes in North Sea Oil & Gas activity on the economy - for example, excluding the latter from the data changes a contraction of -0.3% fall in the economy in the final quarter to a contraction of only -0.1%.

There is also a look at the changing patterns of the work force and its impact on unemployment figures which highlights the increase in part-time working, much of it “forced” (i.e. people cannot find full-time work), especially among men while women have taken a higher proportion of full-time jobs over the past decade.

The ONS Economic Review can be downloaded from their web-site at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/elmr/economic-review/february-2013/index.html or requested from MTA.

European GDP, 4th Quarter 2012:  The updated figures published by Eurostat show that GDP in the euro-zone fell by -0.6% compared to the previous quarter, with a fall of -0.5% recorded for the EU27 overall.  For 2012 as a whole, GDP fell by -0.6% in the euro-zone and by -0.3% in the EU27.  In the 4th quarter of 2012, among the 23 countries for which the data has been published, six saw their economies grow, two were unchanged and the other 15 contracted;  the fastest quarter-on-quarter growth rate was in Latvia (+1.3%) and the largest fall was in Portugal (-1.8%).

On the basis of two consecutive falls in the economy, nine countries are currently in recession - Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.  The Eurostat News Release can be downloaded from their web-site at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/ or requested from MTA.

Investment Grants in Scotland:  The Scottish Government still uses a grant based system for supporting investment - Regional Selective Assistance (RSA);  details of this scheme are available at http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/fund-your-business.aspx.  They produce a list of both accepted offers and payments made - copies of the Scottish report for the 4th quarter of 2012 are available on request from MTA (we can also add you to a mailing list to receive these reports as they become available) or via the above link under “reports”.

International Quarterly Exchange of Orders, 4th Quarter 2012:  This is an exchange between twelve major machine tool manufacturing nations; eight of these are in Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France and the UK), plus Japan, USA, Taiwan and South Korea.  The indices reflect orders placed with the machine tool manufacturers in those countries rather than the demand in those countries and the chart shows the aggregate trends for the European countries and the world (all twelve countries), using seasonally adjusted data.  We are waiting for the data from Taiwan and the USA, but an estimate has been included in calculating the chart.

The chart (attached) shows that order intake for machine tool manufacturers in Europe picked up at the end of 2012, although the seasonally adjusted data is still reflecting the weaker 3rd quarter.  The best improvement was in Italy where domestic orders picked up strongly to its best level for 2½ years, but there was also some improvement in Germany and Spain (in export orders) and the UK (both domestic and exports).  Outside Europe, orders fell a little in Japan, mainly in domestic business but also for exports of metal cutting machines, but were stable in Korea.

Copies of the summary charts and tables, as well as the individual country returns (which also include a breakdown of orders into home and export, a shipments index and usually at least one price index for machine tools) are available on request from Geoff Noon at MTA (gnoon@mta.org.uk) - e-mail is the most practical format for this document.

US Machine Tools Exports/Imports 2012:  US exports of machine tools in 2012 were worth US$2.7 billion (about £1.7 billion), an increase of +3.9% compared to 2011;  exports of metal cutting machine tools increased, but shipments of metal forming machines was lower.  Reflecting the strength of US demand in 2012, imports grew by +28.6% to US$6.2 billion (about £3.9 billion);  both sub-sectors saw growth with metal cutting a little stronger than metal forming.  If you would like the summary data, please let us know and we will send the report from AMT.