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Economic data this week

UK Business Investment, 2nd Quarter 2013:  Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that overall business investment was +0.9% higher than in the 1st period of the year, but was -3.5% lower than a year ago in the 2nd quarter of 2012.

There have been a number of changes to the detailed breakdown of the investment data and these are currently classified as “experimental statistics” by the ONS.  The release of this data is running 1 quarter behind the main announcement - the figures are in current prices (not volumes) and, importantly, are not seasonally adjusted.  In the data for the 1st quarter of the year, all of the industries of interest to us (metal products, machinery, motor vehicles and other transport equipment) showed sharp falls in investment in “other machinery”, although some of the numbers do seem rather erratic and, in particular, the final quarter of 2012 looks rather high.  Further investigation of this seems necessary at this stage, so we won’t give the actual figures.

You can get more details in the ONS Statistical bulletin which is available from their web-site at www.ons.gov.uk or on request from MTA.

UK Machine Tool Exports/Imports, 1st half of 2013:  Data released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and analysed by MTA show an increase in exports of +2.7% compared to the 1st half of 2012; the total value of exports is £250.2 million, the highest level for the 1st half of any year since 2001.  On the same basis, imports of machine tool fell by -16.8% to £279.3 million, although this mainly reflects a strong start to 2012 which was also distorted by the arrival of a large “one-off” shipment - this is illustrated by the fact that, apart from last year, the 2013 figure is also the highest since 2001.

China remains the largest export market, with growth (compared to the 1st half of 2012) of +14%, while exports to the USA increased by +54% and India was up by +59%.  Data on trade with the individual countries of the EU is less reliable;  overall, exports to the rest of the EU fell by -1%, but deliveries to Germany grew by +14%.

If you wold like more details on this data, please contact Geoff Noon at MTA (gnoon@mta.org.uk) to discuss exactly what you are looking for.