European Industrial Production, March 2023: Eurostat has also released its data for March although at the top level this is for industrial production and they don’t provide directly comparable data for manufacturing. Also, their data is monthly with no easy way of determining the quarterly figures from the press release.
The headline figures show a very large fall in output with total industrial production declining by -3.6% in the EU and -4.1% for the Euro-zone; compared to March 2022, this leaves output -1.3% and -1.4% lower in the respective areas. These headlines are not quite as bad as they seem because, although it is a relatively small economy, most of the reduction comes in the form of a month-on-month fall of -26.3% for Ireland – the report notes that the Irish Statistics Authority is reviewing the seasonal adjustment methodology, suggesting that this might be the source of the problem and this might lead to a revision to this data.
However, for now, we have to deal with the figures as they have been published and in the short-term, the capital goods sub-sector is by far the weakest with a reduction of -12.9% for the EU and -15.4% for the Euro-zone compared to February. The comparison with March 2022 is rather better with output rising by +0.4% for the EU, although it fell by -2.1% in the Euro-zone.
Staying with the 12-month comparison, among the 26 Member States who have published the data (Cyprus is a month behind), total industrial production increased in only 8 and fell in 18. The largest increases were in Malta (+12.5%), Denmark (+8.9%) and Spain (+5.6%), with the largest reductions in Ireland (-26.1%), Lithuania (-16.6%) and Estonia (-12.6%). It is worth noting that on the same basis output increased in Germany (+2.9%), was flat in France (+0.2%) but fell in Italy (-3.2%).
You can get the full details from the Eurostat News Release which can be downloaded from their website at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/euro-indicators (15 May) or requested from MTA.
European GDP, 1st Quarter 2023: In an update to its preliminary publication a couple of weeks ago, Eurostat has revised its estimate of GDP growth for the EU down to +0.2% (from +0.3%) but the figure for the Euro-zone is unchanged at +0.1%. This now means that compared to a year earlier, EU GDP has increased by +1.2% (revised down from +1.3%), with growth of +1.3% for the Euro-zone (also unchanged).
While the EU and Euro-zone look to have avoided a recession – both saw GDP fall by -0.1% in the 4th quarter of 2022 – the same is not true for a couple of countries with both Hungary and Lithuania recorded negative GDP figures for three and two consecutive quarters respectively. Estonia, which had negative GDP in each of the first three quarters of 2022 has yet to publish its Q4 results.
Czechia ended its two-quarter recession by seeing growth of +0.1% at the start of 2023 and Germany (0.0%), Italy (+0.1%), Poland (+3.9%), Finland (+1.1%) and Sweden (+0.2%) all had a positive start to 2023 after a fall in GDP at the end of 2022. Finally, Austria (-0.3%), Ireland (-2.7%), and the Netherlands (-0.7%) saw GDP fall in Q1-23 and are, therefore, vulnerable to a recession in the first half of the year if the 2nd quarter also turns out negative.
You can get the full details from the Eurostat News Release which can be downloaded from their website at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/euro-indicators (16 May) or requested from MTA.