Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/07/2014 -- The UK Recovery Is On its Way
After stagnation in 2012 and weak growth in 2013, there are signs that the UK economy may in 2014 be shaking off its torpor and beginning to stretch its legs. Since around mid-2013, BMI has been detecting a change in sentiment, reflected principally in the services purchasing mangers' index (PMI) which in August 2013 soared to 60.5, close to the previous high recorded seven years earlier. Manufacturing PMI also improved. With something of a lag, the real economy showed signs of following the sentiment. UK GDP rose by 0.8% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) in Q313, the fastest pace of growth in three years. The hard-hit construction sector showed signs of recovery, reflecting public investment and the residential housing Help to Buy scheme. We have some reservations about how strong this recovery will be. We want to see further confirmation that the real economy is following the sentiment (they have become decoupled in the past). We also want further evidence on whether the recovery is being driven by investment and exports (good news in terms of how sustainable it will be) or by household and government spending (less good news because it is likely to be more short term). That said, BMI feels sufficiently bullish to have raised our 2013 GDP estimate to 1.5% growth; we forecast that the economy will gather pace thereafter with growth of 1.8% in 2014 and 2.2% in 2015.
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This macro-economic outlook for the UK is moderately positive for the freight transport sector. We believe cargo volume growth will range from the low single percentage digits (road freight, air freight, some ports) to higher single, and in one case double-digit growth (ports such as Southampton and rail freight, which will achieve double digit expansion). We also note that UK real trade is expected to grow by 4.5%, its highest rate since 2010. Exports will lead the way (+5.1%) with imports growing by 3.8%.
Headline Industry Data
- UK air freight volume to grow by 1.6% to 2.49mn tonnes in 2014, up from 0.9% growth in 2013.
- Tonnage handled at Port of Grimsby and Immingham will grow by 5.0% in 2014 to 66.386mnt, comparable to the 5.2% growth recorded the preceding year.
- 2014 tonnage growth at the Port of London will be 1.4% to 44.533mnt.
- Rail freight will grow by 15.8% to 153.579mnt, slightly above the 15.1% growth in 2013.
- Road haulage will remain one of the slowest growing transport modes in 2014, rising 1.1% to 1.806bnt.
- The real value of UK foreign trade will expand by 4.5% in 2014, up from 2.9% in the preceding year.
Key Industry Trends
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