Week ahead 8th February

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Not a particularly stats-heavy week, but we’ll get a couple of data points on industry covering the end of 2015 and the first slug of GDP estimates for the EU.

Trade and production data

At the end of January ONS published the first estimates for UK GDP. The economy is thought to have expanded by 0.5% in the final quarter of 2015 and by 2% over 2015 as a whole.

As part of this release, the data for manufacturing pointed to output unchanged in the final quarter of last year and a modest fall of 0.1% for the year. This week’s Index of Production release (Wednesday) will give the final piece of the data picture for 2015.

It is likely that manufacturing output was also unchanged in December, but with gains and losses spread across the sub-sectors. The news from the basic metals sector (which includes steel) is likely to be gloomy for the final quarter of 2015, but potential bright spots will be found in transport and chemicals.

Tuesday sees the release of full year trade statistics. With most of the data for the year already in, we’re not preparing ourselves for any big upside surprises. The value of total trade for 2015 isn’t expected to have budged much compared with the previous year. This would confirm that progress towards that £1 trillion export target remains elusive, thanks to sluggish growth in world trade and the strong GBP exchange rate.

Europe

The EU will likely dominate some of the headlines again this week as we inch closer to the all-important Council meeting and a likely referendum date. But in other news, Eurostat publishes its first cut of data for growth in the three months to December 2015. The PMIs have indicated an improving picture for both manufacturing and services at the end of 2015, so the GDP statistics are likely to show that recovery across the bloc has continued. The consensus forecast is looking for a reading of 0.3% GDP growth.

 

Blogs this week:

We’ll be rolling out the results of our survey on digital infrastructure this week.

 

 

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Chief Economist

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