Week ahead 22 February

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Here’s a Monday morning look ahead at the data and events relating to UK manufacturing.

The UK GDP 2nd estimate for q4 2015

On Thursday, the ONS will publish its second estimate for UK’s GDP for the final quarter of 2015. The first estimate showed a slight pickup in UK GDP growth to 0.5% in q4 from 0.4% in q3, taking the annual growth rate to 2.2% for 2015. The composition of GDP in q4 followed the pattern seen throughout last year, with economic growth in the UK driven almost exclusively by the services sector and manufacturing’s contribution flattening out.  

On the same day, we are also due for the provisional business investment figures, albeit with no sectoral breakdown for this release. Business investment in the UK economy has grown solidly over the first three quarters of the year, following on its positive growth trajectory since 2010. By contrast, manufacturing investment took a bit of a tumble last year, contracting in all three quarters in 2015. We’ll have to wait until the last day of March to see how manufacturing investment contributed to the annual figures.


…and the same for US GDP

In the midst of concerns about an upcoming recession in the US and the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates under the microscope of global markets, the US GDP q4 2015 second estimate is likely to receive more attention than usual. The preliminary estimate showed US GDP slowing to an annualised rate of 0.7% in q4, from 2.0% in q3, raising the alarm bells about the economy’s resilience to the recent turbulence in financial markets.

The Fed’s minutes from its January meeting reflected worries about an increasingly uncertain business environment despite the consistently strong performance of the US labour market, and analysts are now expecting no more Fed hikes for 2016.  


EEF’s Annual Conference

On Wednesday, EEF will be hosting its annual ‘National Manufacturing Conference’. The Conference will include its usual array of highly influential speakers, with FT’s Chief Economic Correspondent Martin Wolf kicking off proceedings, followed by BIS Secretary Sajid Javid and Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson delivering the keynotes, among other interesting speeches and panels.

A variety of topics will be discussed; the UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’, the UK’s future in the EU and the UK’s global trade challenge. All key issues and all the more pertinent given the challenging 2015 for UK manufacturing and the hangover of risks likely to affect the sector in 2016 too.


The launch of EEF’s Productivity Report

EEF has not stood idle in the UK’s productivity debate and is set to pitch in – from a manufacturing perspective - with the publication of its “Productivity: The State of the Manufacturing Nation” report. The report gives an insight into how manufacturing fits into the UK’s productivity puzzle, the sector’s recent productivity performance, how manufacturers understand productivity, the steps they take to improve it and what – if anything – they can do to take their productivity performance to the next level.


Stay tuned for what will be a week of UK manufacturing extravaganza.


Upcoming blogs:


Monday: Our CEO Terry Scuoler will blog on the results of EEF’s EU referendum survey

Tuesday: Zach Witton will kick off a series of blogs on the Productivity Report

Wednesday: More blogging on the Productivity Report by myself

Thursday: …and some more from Zach Witton

Friday: A sad moment for the EEF blog page with Felicity Burch writing her farewell blog on the six things she’s learned about UK manufacturing in her six years with us


This person has now left EEF. Please contact us on 0808 168 1874 or email us at enquiries@eef.org.uk if you have any questions.

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