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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

European Commission’s Economic Sentiment Indicator, August 2018:  The European Commission (EC) takes a range of business surveys (for the UK, it uses the CBI surveys) to construct a sectoral confidence indicator for both the Euro-zone and the EU28.  The latest figures for the overall Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) show that it edged down in the Euro-Zone but was stable for the EU28 as a whole.  Although this continues a trend that has been running since the start of the year, the ESI remains at an historically high level.

For the Euro-zone, the Commission reports that industry confidence was only marginally lower than in July with respondents more optimistic production expectations off-setting a worsening of their views about the current level of order books and stocks of finished products.  Although not included in the calculation of the confidence indicator, the Commission notes that managers’ views on both export order books and past production both deteriorated, with the latter particularly strong.

The slightly better ESI trend for the EU28 was driven by a marked improvement in the UK which, as the largest non-Euro economy has a significant weight in this difference;  the ESI for Poland, the next largest economy, fell.  The trend for industry confidence was similar to that in the Euro-zone.

You can download the Economic Sentiment report from the European Commission’s web-site at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/surveys/index_en.htm (click on press releases) or request it from MTA.

UK Machine Tool Exports/Imports, 1st half of 2018:  Our analysis of the trade data for machine tools shows that exports were worth £246.9 million;  this is an increase of +21.4% compared to the 1st half of 2017 and the strongest start to a year since 2013.  Most of this increase came in deliveries to the European Union which were up by +27.8% and accounted for 53% of total machine tool exports - the largest percentage share since the first half of 2008.

Outside of the EU, exports grew by +14.9%, with deliveries to the USA expanding by +74.5% to £42.1 million, making this the largest export market for the period.  There were also increases in exports to China (+5.5% - the 5th largest market), India (+144.8% - 6th largest market) and Turkey (+35.5% - 11th largest market).

Imports of machine tools were +16.5% higher than in the first half of 2017 at £279.3 million;  this is the strongest 1st half since 2014.  Arrivals from the European Union increased by +20.1%, with imports from the rest of the world growing by +12.6%;  the most notable trend here was growth of +45.9% in imports from Japan, taking it to 2nd place in the list of sources ahead of the USA where imports fell by -18.2%

If you are interested in more details on this data, please contact Geoff Noon at MTA (e-mail gnoon@mta.org.uk ).

CECIMO Economic & Statistical Toolbox, 2nd Quarter 2018:  The latest edition of the CECIMO Toolbox has just been released and is available for members.  The format has been updated with more charts which are accompanied by bullet point notes rather than the longer text of previous editions;  this is designed to make it easier to read and hopefully more useful to members of the associations.

The contents are as before, with sections containing data specific to the European Machine Tool Market and macro-economic data that surround this market.  The former includes the latest results of the CECIMO Barometer Survey which points to a fall in the general business climate compared to the peak in the previous quarter, although it remains at a generally good level.  Despite this, the net order intake balance improved for the 3rd quarter, but the balance for output fell back, while remaining positive.  Similarly, employment expectations remain positive, but at a lower level than in the previous 3 quarters.  Just over 60% of companies said that there were obstacles to the level of their activities, with a shortage of labour and problems with materials topping the list of these problems.

The macro-economic data covered by the report includes issues such as the PMI, interest rates, exchange rates, capacity utilisation and the OECD business confidence indicator for Europe.

You can download the report from the CECIMO web-site at www.cecimo.eu or request it from MTA.