On Friday we will see if the momentum in manufacturing activity in 2017 was sustained into the first month of this year. The signs are promising.
Indeed, the global economy upswing, which is responsible for much of the improved outlook, has shown no immediate signs of abating, while trade conditions have also remained supportive despite Sterling’s recent rally. Private survey data, including last week’s PMIs, as well as our own Manufacturing Outlook survey out today, have also all been overwhelmingly positive, and so we have no reason to believe the sector will revert from current trends. We are expecting positive growth in manufacturing output, which if realised, will represent the sector’s ninth consecutive monthly expansion, indicative of the sweet spot the sector is enjoying.
On the same day we will get trade data for January. Manufactured exports were up 10% in 2017, as UK manufacturers took advantage of the strong global demand and supportive trading conditions. We are expecting much of the same this month, and are forecasting net trade to contribute positively to growth in 2018. Keep an eye out on our blog when we will be digging into the data in more detail.