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Economy in Brief

Industrial Production’s Slide Begins To Taper Off...For Some
by Robert BruscaJune 10, 2009

In April three of five large EU countries experienced monthly increases in industrial production. We can set Spain aside, to some extent, since its monthly figures are so volatile. Still, Spain and the UK are the only two of this group to have IP also up over three months. Only Spain shows IP’s negative growth rates as steadily decelerating from 12 months to six months to three months, and finally turning positive. The UK’s positive numbers over three months come without the persistence of deceleration. All countries in this group except Italy show that the IP drop is decelerating (or that it is rising) over three-months compared to six months. And although for Italy the calculation is a close one, over three months Italy’s IP is falling at a faster rate than it is falling over 12-mnths; it is the only country like that.

On balance there is power in numbers and a number of countries did report an IP bounce in April. That makes the bounce look like a real phenomenon, not just something aberrant. Most show various evidence that the IP deceleration is slowing in the recent three-months. Italy is the exception. Despite posting a rise in IP in April its trends still are not reassuring. Spain, despite the extreme volatility in its index shows the most persisting deceleration in the group. The trick for Spain will be to see if that trend stays in place next month. The challenge for Italy is to join the progress in the rest of the group.

Main E-Area Countries and UK IP in MFG
  Mo/Mo 3-Mo 6-mo 12-mo Apr-09
MFG Only Apr-09 Mar-09 Feb-09 Apr-09 Apr-09 Apr-09 Q:2-Date
Germany: -2.9% 0.8% -3.5% -20.5% -36.8% -24.2% -19.4%
France:IPxConstruct'n -1.4% -1.7% -0.9% -15.0% -22.5% -18.8% -15.8%
Italy 0.7% -4.7% -5.0% -30.9% -30.6% -25.2% -22.7%
Spain 5.8% -5.0% 1.2% 7.1% -24.7% -28.6% 16.7%
UK 0.2% 0.2% -0.2% 0.9% -15.2% -12.7% 1.8%
Mo/Mo are simple percent changes others are at saars
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