Comments on May Monitor
This month it is particularly important to note: The Monitor records only the number/share of companies, not the size of orders or number of jobs etc.
- Another very good month, especially given the circumstances.
Prospecting numbers are really positive with very few companies reporting declines in enquiry levels.
- Orders up substantially month-on-month with around half of respondents recording gains in UK and export orders.
- Companies still recruiting with the three-month balance now running at +30 well ahead of last year's +20 which was already thought to be very strong.
- Investment picked up again with over half saying they're 'investing in all areas'.
- Positive month in terms of finance availability with good positive balances for working and for investment finance.
- The Monitor has been recording positive balances for finance availability basically since November with very few companies reporting difficulties, viz on average since November 2% for working capital and 4% for investment finance.
- Confidence remains positive but unchanged. Three-month average +18 (+8 a year ago).
- Strong performance from these lead indicators with nearly two in five firms reporting gains in UK and export enquiries
- The Downers' share remains small, in double digit-land for exporters.
- As a result, the 3-month running averages are still well ahead of last two years:
- 2017 average balances UK +32 Export +33
- 2016 average balances UK +17 Export +11
- 2015 average balances UK +4 Export -1
- May orders sprang back up after April's disappointing weakness with around half of all respondents reporting gains.
- The number of companies reporting orders lower almost halved on UK business and fell 38% on exports.
- The current 3-month averages have strengthened significantly for UK business and exports remain strong and well ahead of the last two years:
- 2017 average balances UK +18 Export +22
- 2016 average balances UK+3 Export +6
- 2015 average balances UK -3 Export +4
- Slight increase in the jobs count, but the three-month average is now running at +30 compared with +20 a year ago which was already considered high at the time.
A big increase in the share of firms reporting "investing in all areas", up to 54%. Three-month average is 41%, exactly the same share as in 2016.
- Monthly balance positive and clean across both working and investment finance with three-month average running at +12 and +6 respectively.
- Balances have been positive since November with very few firms reporting difficulties (average 2% for working and 4% for investment).
- No change in confidence which remains realistically positive, maybe reflecting good short term immediate outlook but also linked to long term, where there is still much uncertainty.
- The 3-month running average is +18 compared with +8 a year ago.
The Monitor (Click
graphs for larger image and data)
- choice of statements in full:
- Developing projects but not committing
- Investing in all areas of the business