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UK Business Investment Fall Continues
Feb 26, 2003

UK business investment continued to decline in the fourth quarter of 2002, according to provisional figures released by the National Statistics Office of the United Kingdom. The 2002 fourth quarter investment fall confirms a decreasing trend that started since the first quarter of 2001 with investment falling in seven out of the last eight quarters.

Business investment fell by 1.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2002 following a 2.3 per cent fall in the previous quarter. Provisionally, compared with the same quarter a year ago the decline was 9.2 per cent.

The decline is seen in both the manufacturing and service sectors, although there was an increase in investment from the distribution services sector in the fourth quarter. This stems mainly from increased investment from the wholesale industry in all major assets, but there was also some increased investment from the retail industry.

Manufacturing investment fell by 17.7 per cent and service investment fell by 7.6 per cent compared with the same quarter a year ago. Within manufacturing, large falls in investment levels in the fourth quarter were observed in the engineering and vehicles industry.

A provisional analysis by asset within manufacturing shows continued investment decline in other machinery and equipment. Through the second half of 2000 and the early part of 2001 the same asset had recorded high growth. These assets include high profile investment in information and communications technologies. Provisional estimates also show a quarterly decline in vehicles investment. New building work investment from manufacturing recovered slightly in the fourth quarter.

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