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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

European Commission Economic Sentiment Indicator & Investment Survey, November 2019:  The European Commission’s (EC) Economic Sentiment Index (ESI), which is constructed from a combination of 5 sector confidence indicators, increased a little in the Euro-zone and more strongly in the EU28 in November.  In the Euro-zone, this was mainly driven by improvements in confidence among consumers and the retail trade sector which outweighed a sharp fall for construction, while industry and services increased only marginally.  For the EU28, confidence in the services sector improved significantly while construction was stable - this led to a stronger improvement in the ESI for the EU28.

In the Euro-zone industry sector, respondents to the survey conducted at the end of October and the first half of November were more optimistic about production expectations and the level of stocks of finished products, but their views on current total orders books weakened slightly.  Although not included in calculating the confidence indicator, there was a sharp fall in respondents assessment of production over the past 3 months while their views on total export orders were broadly flat.

This edition of the ESI report also includes a summary of the bi-annual industrial investment survey.  This is a round-up of investment intentions from surveys across the EU, but with volume and value trends identified.  It shows that real investment (volumes) in the manufacturing industry in 2019 is expected to be -2% lower than in 2018 for both the Euro-zone and the EU28.  This represents a significant down-grading of the views from the March/April survey which showed significant increases in both regions.  For 2020 (this is the first survey to ask about this year), real investment is expected to increase by +1% in both regions.

The data tables in the EC report include the figures for each country;  among the highlights are sharply negative investment expectations for 2019 in Italy, Spain and Sweden and, although still positive, lower expectations in Austria, France, Germany and Netherlands - they are unchanged in the UK, mainly because they were only modest anyway.

You can download the EC report from their web-site at https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/indicators-statistics/economic-databases/business-and-consumer-surveys/download-business-and-consumer-survey-data/press-releases_en or you can request it from MTA.

CELIMO Economic Report, November 2019:  CELIMO is a European grouping of associations that represent importers and distributors of manufacturing technology.  At its Tooling Group meeting held recently, there was an economic presentation which covered Europe as a whole with additional information (at different levels) for the countries represented at the meeting (Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK) with some headline figures for the other members of CELIMO (Belgium, Finland, France and Germany).

Given the nature of the group, the focus of the individual presentations is on tooling, but the overview is relevant to everyone in our industry.  If you would like copies of this report, please contact Geoff noon at MTA (e-mail: gnoon@mta.org.uk).

Profitability of UK Companies, 2nd Quarter 2019:  Along with many other data series from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently, this series has been heavily revised in terms of the numbers, even if the trends are relatively unaffected.  The latest data for profitability (economic gain or profit as a percentage of the capital used in production) of manufacturing companies  shows that the net rate fell to 13.9% in the 2nd quarter - this is its lowest level since the last period of 2016.

You can get more details form the ONS Statistical Bulletin which can be downloaded from their web-site at https://www.ons.gov.uk/releasecalendar (22 November) or request it from MTA.