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European Industrial Output, December 2016:  Eurostat reported that total industrial production in the Euro-zone was -1.6% lower than in the previous month, but it had risen by +1.5% in November which suggests an issue around timing and seasonal adjustment as much as a real trend.  For the EU28 it fell by -1.0% in December following growth of +1.6% in November.

For 2016 as a whole, average total industrial production grew by +1.3% in the Euro-zone and by +1.4% for the EU28.

Output of Capital Goods in the Euro-zone fell by -3.3% compared to November 2016 and was down by -0.1% compared to December 2015.  For the EU28, the month-on-month trend was -2.2%, but capital goods output was +1.1% higher than in December 2015.

Among the 25 member states for whom the data is available, total industrial production in December 2016 was higher than a year earlier in 21 and down in just 4;  the declines were recorded in Luxembourg (-5.1%), Ireland (-1.8%), Germany and Sweden (both -0.8%) while the double-digit growth was registered by Croatia (+14.9%), Latvia (+11.5%), Denmark (+11.1%) Slovenia (+10.2%) and Estonia (+10.0%).

You can download the Eurostat News Release from their web-site at or request it from MTA.

European GDP, 4th Quarter 2016:  Data published by Eurostat shows that GDP in the Euro-zone was +0.4% higher than in the 3rd period of the year, while the EU28 as a whole had growth of +0.5%.  Compared to the 4th quarter of 2015, the Euro-zone economy expanded by +1.7%, with growth of +1.8% for the EU28;  these rates both edged down by 0.1 percentage point from the annualised rate recorded for the 3rd quarter of the year..

Data on the 4th quarter is only available for 20 Member States, but among these, the fastest quarter-on-quarter growth was in Poland (+1.7%), Lithuania and Romania (both +1.3%).  Finland (-0.5%) and Greece (-0.4%) saw their economies contract in the final period of 2016, but both still managed to record growth  of +0.3% over the 12 month period.

You can download the Eurostat News Release from their web-site at or request it from MTA.

UK Trade in Goods, 4th Quarter 2016:  The UK’s trade deficit for goods narrowed significantly at the end of 2016 with exports increasing by +10.4% (£7¾ billion) compared to the previous quarter while imports only grew by +0.9% (£1 billion).  However, during 2016 there has been significant movements in some erratic items, most notably non-monetary gold which has especially affected the data for exports and imports to non-EU countries through the year and this lies behind much of the growth in exports in the 4th quarter.

However, that period did also see a significant improvement in exports of machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and fuels, while the latter category was the only one to see a significant increase for imports.

For 2016 as a whole, the UK’s trade deficit in goods deteriorated to -£134.9 billion with exports growing by 4.9% compared to 2015 (to stand at £301.7 billion), while imports grew by +7.2% (to £436.6 billion).

You can download the ONS Statistical bulletin from their web-site at or request it from MTA.

USMTO and US CTMR, December 2016:  The US Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) programme tracks orders received in the US market, irrespective of origin - the data in this report are based on the actual totals reported by companies participating in the USMTO programme.  There was a strong end to 2016 with an increase of +20.6% compared to the November figure, but orders in 2016 overall were still -4.0% below the level in 2015 - this is despite the boost in the Autumn from IMTS.

The AMT News Release points to an increase in spending by machine shops at the end of the year and to an increase in demand for cutting tools (see below) which augers well for the demand for machines in 2017.

The regional breakdown of the data shows that in 2016, orders increased in the South-East (+20%) and Western (+6%) areas, but fell in the other 4 parts of the country - the largest reduction was in the South-Central area (-21%), although this is the smallest of the regions by value (it is less than half the size of the South-East which is the next smallest region).

The US Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR) tracks sales of cutting tools in the US market and, like the USMTO programme, reports on the basis of the returns that are received.  Sales in December were +4% higher than in November and +13% higher than a year earlier - as we have seen in the UK, December is often a poor month compared to the rest of the year because of the holidays, so this is an indicator of a strong performance at the end of 2016.  Despite this, the year ended -4.3% lower than 2015.

You can download the USMTO News Release from the AMT web-site at and the Cutting Tool News Release from, or you can request both from MTA.