Monday, October 24, 2011

24/10/2011: New Orders for Industry: August data

Cheerful update today from the Eurostat on New Orders in Industrial Production series:

"In August 2011 compared with July 2011, the  euro area (EA17) industrial new orders index rose by 1.9%. In July the index dropped by 1.6%. In the EU27 new orders increased by 0.4% in August 2011, after a fall of 0.6% in July. Excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment, for which changes tend to be more volatile, industrial new orders rose by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU27. In August 2011 compared with August 2010, industrial new orders increased by 6.2% in the  euro area and by 6.5% in the  EU27. Total industry excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment rose by 5.0% and 5.2% respectively."

Here are the details:
Start at the top: EU17 new orders index is now at 115.11 for August, up on 112.93 in July, down on 115.54 in May. The index is now back into the comfortable expansion territory, where it has been since April 2010. 

2008 average reading was 110.09, 2009 average was 86.99 and 2010 annual average was 102.2. So far - through August - 2011 average is 112.93 - not a bad result. But miracle it is not - reading of 100 is consistent with activity back in H1 2005, so in effect, through August 2011 we have achieved growth of 2.05% annualized in terms of volumes of output. Given that since then we had pretty hefty doses of inputs inflation and moderate gate prices inflation, the margins on the current activity have to be much lower than for pre-crisis years. Which means relatively robust improvements in volumes of industrial new orders are not necessarily implying robust value added growth in the sector.

Meanwhile, German new orders have shrunk in August 2011 from 122.4 in July to 120.9 in August. Month on month German new orders are down 8.04% and year on year activity is down 13.34%. This marks the lowest reading since April 2011.

 Of the big players:

  • France posted an increase in new orders index to 102.90 in August from 100.1 in July. France's 2011 average to-date is 100.43, well ahead of 2010 average of 90.93 and 2009 average of 84.31. France's new orders index averaged 100.06 in 2008.
  • Spain posted a surprising improvement in August to 96.43 from 93.85 in July and yoy rise of 2.0%. Spain's 2008 average was 102.93, 2009 average of 81.57 and 2010 average of 89.61. For 8 moths through August 2011, Spain's new orders index averaged 94.27.
  • Italy;s new orders index hit 117.21 - very robust increase of 6.14% mom from 110.56 in July. Italy's new orders index is now averaging 113.58 for eight months of 2011, up on 2010 annual average of 103.09, 2009 average of 89.75 and 2008 average of 104.59. It's worth noting that Italy exemplifies the fallacy of 'exports-led growth' argument - the country has posted very robust recovery in its significant and highly exports-oriented industrial sector, and yet it also posted virtually no growth over the last 2 years.
Other countries are illustrated below.

 So on the net, industrial production new orders signal some bounce back from the troughs of the slowdown in early summer 2011, but this can be immaterial for the wider Euro area economic growth and a temporary improvement. September and October data will be more crucial, signaling into early 2012.

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