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Friday, July 4, 2008

Sharp Slowdown In Latvian Industrial Output in May 2008

Well the May industrial output reading is really quite a shocker, since when compared to April 2008, industrial output in May 2008 at constant prices (i.e. allowing for the influence of the price change) was down by 3.1%, according to the (seasonally adjusted data) accoring to the Latvian Central Statistical Bureau. Of this there was a volume decrease of 3.3% in manufacturing, 3,4 % in electricity, gas and water supply, and in mining and quarrying the production volume was up by 7.1%.

Compared to May 2007, industrial output in May (according to working day adjusted data) was down by 8.5%. Of which there was a volume decrease of 8% in manufacturing, a 9,6 % decrease in electricity, gas and water supply, and a 3.1% increase in mining and quarrying.

According to the statistics bureau the decrease in industrial production is related to a drop in demand and a decrease in orders in the following economic activities: food, textiles and wearing apparel, manufacture of wood, paper products, printing, chemicals and chemical products, rubber and plastic products, construction materials and furniture.

I don't know where all the people are right now who were predicting a "soft landing" (in hiding to conceal their shame I hope, or at least doing public "mea culpas" and correcting the flaws in their methodologies), but it really does look as if the Q2 2008 GDP result could be something of a shocker, if the Industrial Output readings and the retail sales data are anything to go by.

The only saving grace at this point would appear to be external trade, and this could be more of a positive element due to the statistical impact of the slowdown in import growth (caused by the drop in domestic demand) rather and real robustness in exports. Still the May 2008 extrenal trade data is due out next week, and at that point we should get a much better idea.

Exports werte up a healthy 24.7% year on year in April.

Although it is important to remember that Latvia still runs a substantial trade deficit dèspite some recent improvement.

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