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Economy in Brief

Uneven Performance in Industrial Production for UK, Malaysia and Others in February
by By Carol Stone April 7, 2005

Four diverse countries reported February industrial production data today, UK, Germany, Hungary and Malaysia. While three saw a decrease in February, output is generally rising, albeit fitfully.

Malaysia has the strongest gains of these nations, with February up 5.2% from the previous month and 8.5% from a year ago after an overall advance of 11.3% in 2004. Rubber, food and chemicals show the most distinct uptrends. Malaysia is included in Haver's EMERGEPR database. Hungarian data are in the EMERGECW database. Output in Hungary was strong in 2004 also, with growth of 8.4%, but has slowed noticeably in recent months. A decline of 0.3% in February put it just 1.3% ahead of the year-earlier month. The recent weakness is evident in the mining sector, although wood, paper and machinery industries continue to show gains.

The larger industrial countries are no more than mixed. Output in the UK and Germany fell in February by 0.4% and 1.4%, respectively, with German production up 1.9% from a year ago, but the UK off 1.4%. The UK's energy sector has been weakening steadily since 2000 and this is restraining overall growth. Machinery and appliances, however, continue to increase. In Germany, the energy refining and production sector, by contrast, is providing some growth, along with chemicals, paper and electrical equipment.

Each Germany and the UK has its own Haver database, and a summary of the production data is also included in G10. This latter database, compiled by Haver directly from its country sources, is arranged by country and also by concept, so production among individual countries can be easily compared. A database from Eurostat, the EU's data coordinator, also contains summary production data, as do a number of other international organization and privately generated databases among Haver's collections.

Percent Changes
Monthly, seasonally adjusted
Feb 2005 Jan 2005 Year Ago 2004 2003 2002
UK -0.4 -0.3 -1.4 0.5 -0.1 -2.5
Germany -1.4 2.8 1.9 4.2 0.4 -1.1
Hungary -0.3 0.3 1.3 8.4 6.6 3.3
Malaysia 5.2 -2.3 8.5 11.3 9.3 4.6
Memo: US 0.3 0.1 3.3 4.1 -0.0 -0.3
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