Significant move towards economic growth?

BDO Monthly Business Trends Indices

  • Output Index reaches nine-month high,¬†indicates growth for the first time since summer 2011
  • Business confidence for the second half of the year is more muted
  • Manufacturing Optimism Index indicates poorer prospects for the back end of 2012

European external trade

European external trade – Eurostat

  • The first estimate for the euro area (EA17) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in February 2012 gave a 2.8 bn euro surplus, compared with -2.8 bn in February 2011. The January 2012 balance was -7.9 bn, compared with -16.1 bn in January 2011. In February 2012 compared with January 2012, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 2.4% and imports by 3.5%.
  • The first estimate for the February 2012 extra-EU27 trade balance was a 9.4 bn euro deficit, compared with -10.5 bn in February 2011. In January 2012 the balance was -23.5 bn, compared with -31.3 bn in January 2011. In February 2012 compared with January 2012, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 1.3% and imports by 3.2%.

 

Household perspective of economic activity

Quarterly Household Release – Q4 2011: ONS

  • Real household actual income per head fell by 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the third quarter of 2011, a slightly slower fall than the previous quarter
  • Real household actual expenditure per head increased by 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the third quarter of 2011. This is the first time household actual expenditure has grown since the second quarter of 2010
  • Household financial assets increased slightly relative to income on the quarter and household financial liabilities decreased marginally relative to income, this is in line with recent trends
  • The household saving ratio fell by 0.2 percentage points since the third quarter of 2011, to 7.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011

European industrial production

Industrial production – Eurostat

  • In February 2012 compared with January 2012, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.5% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.2% in the EU27. In January production remained stable in both zones
  • In February 2012 compared with February 2011, industrial production dropped by 1.8% in both the euro area and the EU27

UK retail sales values up

BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor – March 2012

  • UK retail sales values were up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis from March 2011, when they were down 3.5% on a year ago
  • On a total basis, sales were up 3.6%, against a 1.9% decline in March 2011
  • Online (including mail-order and phone) sales of non-food items showed stronger growth, but against a very weak March 2011. Sales were 13.9% up on a year ago, the best since December 2011

Retail trade volume down in EA17 & EU27

Volume of retail trade – Eurostat

  • In February 2012 compared with January 2012, the volume of retail trade decreased by 0.1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU27. In January retail trade rose by 1.1% and 0.9% respectively.
  • In February 2012, compared with February 2011, the retail sales index fell by 2.1% in the euro area and by 1.1% in the EU27.