Economics the Week in Review – manufacturing prices fall in March, the trade figures disappoint in February, construction output drops and retail sales are boosted by the warm weather according to the British Retail Consortium. Download The Saturday Economist 14th April 2012
Friday and the ONS releases the latest data on manufacturing prices in March. Input and output prices are falling, 3.6% the latest output level down from over 6% in September last year. Oil, fuel and imported material prices, the major driver of input costs reported at 5.8% down from 18.5% in July last year. The inflation targets could be met this year but much will depend on the future path of oil prices.
The trade figures in February were disappointing as the trade in goods deficit increased from £7.9 billion in January to £8.8 billion in February. The monthly stats are subject to revision but the quarter deficit in trade is likely to be over £25 billion compared to £23 billion last year. So much for rebalancing the economy.
Construction figures in February appear to have fallen by 4.6% compared to last year. Monthly revisions are inevitable, the overall trend is flat over the past twelve months.
The British Retail Consortium report retail sales in March were warmed by the Sun as UK retail sales values were up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis from March 2011. On a total basis, sales were up 3.6%, against a 1.9% decline in March 2011.
John Lewis reported “superb” results for Easter week, with sales up by 25% compared to last year. The sun brought them out and the rain drove customers back into store by the end of the holiday.
In other news, no drivers strike and Britain retains the AAA rating according to S & P.
It is time to empty the jerry cans, get rid of the petrol and fill with water or champagne. JKA
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