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Economic data this week

UK Automotive Production:  Data released by the SMMT shows that car output grew by +3.1% in 2013 to reach its highest level since 2007;  interestingly, and perhaps reflecting some weakness in European markets, exports fell slightly (down -0.9%) while home sales grew strongly (up +21.8%).  Analysis of exports by market is only available for the first nine months, but it does suggest that we will see a repeat of the situation in 2012 where deliveries outside the EU exceeded those for within the region.

Production of commercial vehicles in the UK fell by -21.7% in 2013, affected by weak demand in Europe and the closure of the Ford Transit plant in Southampton.  However there is better news with growth of +2.3% in engine production, the best total since 2008.  As with the figures for cars, the number of engines produced for export fell slightly while there was an increase in home sales which accounted for a fraction over 40% of the total.

You can get the SMMT News Releases from their web-site at www.smmt.co.uk or on request from MTA.

Bank of England Agents Summary of Business Conditions, January 2104:  In their latest report to the Monetary Policy Committee, the Bank of England’s local Agents point to further growth in manufacturing output for the domestic market with robust growth in sectors such as aerospace, automotive and energy related supply chains.  Growth in manufacturing exports also continued, although the pace of growth moderated slightly, in part because of Sterling’s recent appreciation in value.

Investment intentions in the manufacturing sector continue to point to modest growth in capital spending over the next 12 months.  Capacity utilisation in manufacturing was reported to be close to normal levels, but with utilisation of labour greater than that for plant & machinery, suggesting that employment would need to rise before investment.

You can download the summary report from the Bank of England web-site at http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/agentssummary/2014... or request it from MTA.

CECIMO Statistical Toolbox, January 2014:  This month’s edition of the CECIMO Toolbox covers the usual round-up of the latest European macro-economic data;  in the introduction, there is also a brief review of the latest IMF forecasts for the global economy and a comment on Latvia becoming the 18th member of the euro-zone.

The CECIMO Toolbox is available on request from MTA.