Chart of the week: the stroll of the makers

George Osborne’s widely trumpeted “march of the makers” a few years ago turned out to be a “gentle stroll”. And an upturn in UK manufacturing output in 2014 faltered, too.

895_COTW

Has this been "another false dawn for factories", asks David Smith in The Sunday Times. There have been several occasions in recent years when a rise in UK manufacturing output did not in fact herald the start of a sustained upswing. George Osborne's widely trumpeted "march of the makers" a few years ago turned out to be a "gentle stroll". An upturn in 2014 faltered too. Now the worry is that the post-Brexit surge could be petering out. In the first quarter manufacturing output expanded by a mere 0.2%, and the PMI survey tracking activity in the sector slipped to a 17-month low in April. Overall output is still only just back to pre-crisis levels.

Viewpoint

"[Bank of England Governor Mark] Carney [is] bouncing around a lot [with his hints on the likelihood of interest-rate hikes], confusing the markets In some markets, borrowing costs seem to be detached from the Bank base rate Last week, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan noted that the mortgage market is so competitive that the cost of new mortgage deals has actually gone down since last November's rate rise. That on its own seems to me like a good enough reason to raise rates again. And if the economy is really so fragile it can't cope with a quarter-point rate rise, well, we might as well find that out.Waiting for the perfect time to raise interest rates is like waiting for the perfect time to get married. If you do that, you never will. So let's put rates up, if only so we've something to cut if things do go really bad."

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

Simon English, London Evening Standard

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519858/how-long-can-the-good-times-roll
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Visit/516758/beyond-the-brexit-talk-the-british-economy-isnt-doing-too-badly
Economy

Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly

The political Brexit pantomime aside, Britain is in pretty good shape. With near-record employment, strong wage growth and modest inflation, there is …
17 Oct 2019
Visit/economy/uk-economy/601055/debt-jubilee-will-our-debts-be-written-off
UK Economy

Debt jubilee: will our debts be written off?

The idea of a "debt jubilee" – general society-wide cancellation of debt – goes back to Biblical times. Could it happen again? And would it really do …
28 Mar 2020
Visit/economy/uk-economy/601063/the-uks-bailout-of-the-self-employed-comes-with-a-hidden-catch
UK Economy

The UK’s bailout of the self employed comes with a hidden catch

The chancellor’s £6.5bn bailout of the self employed is welcome. But it has hidden benefits for the taxman, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
27 Mar 2020

Most Popular

Visit/investments/property/601065/what-does-the-coronavirus-crisis-mean-for-uk-house-prices
Property

What does the coronavirus crisis mean for UK house prices?

With the whole country in lockdown, the UK property market is closed for business. John Stepek looks at what that means for UK house prices, housebuil…
27 Mar 2020
Visit/economy/eu-economy/601060/the-european-central-bank-throws-away-the-rulebook-to-bail-out-italy
EU Economy

The European Central Bank throws away the rulebook to bail out Italy

The ECB has removed all constraints on asset purchases and will now buy “whatever it takes” to tackle the coronavirus. John Stepek explains what it me…
26 Mar 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/601037/gold-is-on-a-wild-ride-so-should-you-be-buying
Gold

Gold is hard to find right now – so should you be buying?

With demand through the roof and the physical metal hard to find, it's not the best time to buy gold. But right now, says Dominic Frisby, you want to …
25 Mar 2020
Visit/economy/uk-economy/601063/the-uks-bailout-of-the-self-employed-comes-with-a-hidden-catch
UK Economy

The UK’s bailout of the self employed comes with a hidden catch

The chancellor’s £6.5bn bailout of the self employed is welcome. But it has hidden benefits for the taxman, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
27 Mar 2020