UK activity data for May somewhat better than expected, but this is largely due to volatility as industry juggled with the initial March Brexit data and resulting slide in production in April, notably the pre-planned auto sector shutdowns. The underlying picture is still one of weakening activity
A weak industrial production number and even bleaker manufacturing figures, which leave the y/y rate in negative territory for the first time since December 2016 (and the last China crisis!) On the manufacturing side non-durables look weak while autos within the durables continue to drag with auto production running around -4.4% y/y now, maintain the negative streak from the start of the year.
The improvement we saw in the headline activity numbers in March proved short lived with both industrial production and retail sales taking a renewed dive in April. Auto sector weakness was notably pronounced. Passenger car unit sales are down some 11% from the June 2018 peak, which is unprecedented in a developing economy with a reported growth rate as that of China.
March output data was strong on the manufacturing side, amid inventory building ahead of the (since extended) end-March Brexit deadline. Construction and services ended the quarter on a weak note, leading to an overall dip in GDP in the final month of Q1.
This morning completed the March industrial production and orders reports for Germany. Although the m/m bounce in industrial production extended, the prior month’s downward revision took some of the gloss off this and the y/y comparison still looks gloomy.