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Economic news this week

UK Machine Tool Exports/Imports, 3rd Quarter 2013:  Initial analysis of the data released by HM Revenue & Customs this week shows that UK exports of machine tools were worth £128.1 million, +6.0% higher than in the previous quarter, but -2.6% lower than in the 3rd quarter of 2012;  the running total for 2013 is £378.3 million, +0.9% higher than for the first nine months of 2012.  The top 3 exports markets in the 3rd quarter of 2013 were China (£22.9 mil), the USA (£22.1 mil) and Germany (£15.8 mil), although care is needed in interpreting the data for individual countries within the European Union because of the way this data is collected.

On the same basis, imports of machine tools into the UK were worth £129.7 million, a decrease of -4.7% on the 2nd period of the year and -9.3% lower than a year ago;  the year to date total is £409.0 million, -14.6% less than for the equivalent period in 2012.  The top 5 sources were Germany (£31.6 mil), Japan (£12.3 mil), South Korea (£11.7 mil), the USA and Taiwan (both £11.2 mil).

If you are interested in more details either by country or product, or if you would like the equivalent data for other products, please contact Geoff Noon at MTA (                                                

European GDP, 3rd Quarter 2013:  In contrast to the strong figures for the UK economy released by the ONS a couple of weeks ago, the flash estimate for Europe from Eurostat shows that GDP for the euro-zone increased by only 0.1% compared to the 2nd period of the year;  the EU28 as a whole managed growth of +0.2%.  Compared to a year earlier, GDP in the euro-zone fell by -0.4%, but rose by +0.1% for the EU28 as a whole.

Not all of the nations have published data for the 3rd quarter yet, but among those that have, the Eurostat News Release shows that Cyprus and Italy are the only countries in recession - defined as two consecutive quarters of non-positive growth - but two other countries (Czech Republic and France) had a negative growth rate in the 3rd quarter having seen a positive figure (which therefore ended their recessions) in the 2nd period of the year.

The Eurostat News Release is available from their web-site or can be requested from MTA.

European Industrial Production, September 2013:  Data from Eurostat shows a fall in industrial production compared to August of -0.5% for the euro-zone and -0.2% for the EU28 as a whole;  compared to September 2012, industrial production - which includes output of the extraction and utilities industries as well as manufacturing - grew by +1.1% in the euro-zone and by +1.2% for the EU28.

The trends for the capital goods industries are similar;  on the month-on-month comparison, output fell by -1.0% in the euro-zone and -0.2% for the EU28, while compared to a year ago, output was up by +0.8% in the euro-zone and +1.9% for the EU28.

Looking at the 12-month trend, among the member states for which the data is available, total industrial production increased in 16 countries and fell in 9;  the largest increases were in Ireland (+11.7%) and Romania (+8.9%) and the greatest reductions were in Luxembourg (-4.0%) and Croatia (-3.9%).

The Eurostat News Release is available from their web-site or can be requested from MTA.

USMTO and USCTC, September 2013:  The US Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) programme tracks orders placed in the US market for both domestic manufacturers and importers.  Orders in the first 9 months of the year were -11.3% lower than in the same period (January to September) in 2012;  the acceleration of the downturn this month is driven by the boost to the figures in September 2012 from IMTS and is normal pattern.  The regional pattern shows that orders are broadly flat in two regions (North-East and West) and falling in the other 4 areas, led by the reduction of -22% in the South Central area.

The US Cutting Tool Consumption (USCTC) report is a similar concept for the cutting tool business, except that it tracks shipments rather than orders.  Shipments for January to September 2013 are -6.7% lower than in the same months last year.  There is no regional breakdown in this series, but the comments point to fabricated metal products being a particularly weak sector, while 2014 is predicted to see growth in the power generation equipment and aircraft industries.

You can download the News Releases for both series from the AMT web-site at or request them from MTA.


Another reminder, this time that you can download the documents and presentations from the recent MTA Forecast Seminar from the members area of our web-site at

In particular, please note that we have now updated the two presentations given by John Walker to include notes which were taken during his talk.  These add some flavour to the bare slides and we hope that this adds value, especially if you want to use the information in your own presentations.  If you need the slides in PowerPoint format, please contact Geoff Noon at MTA (