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Economic news

PMI, UK and Euro-zone, September 2013:  The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the UK remained at close to the August level and at 56.7 (August was revised to 57.1) it is at a level not seen since the end of 2010.  Manufacturing output expanded for the 6th successive month and was at close to August’s 19-year high pace;  new orders were also at a similar level to that achieved in August, with the domestic market the main source of new contracts.  Other good news from the UK series is that job creation climbed to a 28-month peak.

The PMI for the euro-zone is not running nearly as high as the UK’s, but at 51.1, it was close to the 26-month high of 51.4 that was recorded in August.  In fact, the overall pattern was remarkably similar to the August picture with 6 of the 8 countries in the euro-zone report registering an index above 50 (the level which marks the boundary between contraction and expansion);  as in the previous month, the exceptions were France (49.8) and Greece (47.5).  Germany fell back slightly to 51.1;  the best result was again in the Netherlands where the index of 55.8 was a new 29-month high for them.

There is no clear pattern to the September figures in other European countries;  the index in Turkey picked up strongly to reach 54.0 and the figures for Poland (53.1) and the Czech Republic (53.4) were not far behind, although neither of these grew rapidly, but the index for Russia was steady at 59.4.  Elsewhere in the world, there is a similarly mixed picture - to the West, Canada saw an improvement, but the other major American economies (the USA, Mexico and Brazil) were broadly flat at around the same level as in August.  In Asia, most of the major indices were little changed from August, the main mover being an improvement in Taiwan to 52.0 (from 50.0 in August), although Japan continues to have the “best” figure at 52.5 (52.2 in August).

All of the Markit PMI reports for major economies around the world are available from their web-site at http://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/Page.mvc/PressReleases.

Count of UK Businesses, 2013:  The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its annual analysis of UK businesses by industry, size and location.  At first glance this seems rather dull, but it is a useful indicator of the spread of companies across the country against quite a detailed industry breakdown.  It is not, of course, a directory in any sense, but just a count of companies, but if want an idea of, for example, where there might be a concentration of pump and compressor manufacturers, this is the place to look - for the record, the 320 companies (although 185 of these employ less than 10 people) are reasonably spread across the country.

You can download the ONS dataset from their web-site at www.ons.gov.uk or request it from MTA;  we can help you find your way around this dataset – contact Geoff Noon (gnoon@mta.org.uk).

CBI UK and International Quarterly Outlook:  The CBI has published separate documents covering the UK and international economies.  For the UK, they have revised their forecast for GDP in 2013 upwards to +1.2% which they say reflects marked improvements in business and consumer sentiment and better credit conditions.  Going forward in to 2014, they predict that GDP growth will accelerate to +2.3% with increasing support from residential and business investment.

In the international outlook document, they point to strengthening US private sector demand which is offsetting cuts in the public sector, while Japan’s recovery has been boosted by a large scale fiscal and monetary stimulus.  The euro-zone as a whole exited from the 2nd phase of the recession in the 2nd quarter of 2013, although the pattern across the countries is unbalanced  and poor credit conditions continue to holding back the recovery in a number of countries within the region.