The latest CBI Industrial Trends Survey was reasonably upbeat and suggests that the weakness of industry seen towards the end of last year may not continue into 2006.

For now, these data are a stark reminder to the MPC that the economy is still dangerously reliant on the consumer sector, which still has problems of its own.

Over the last five years net trade's been a drag on growth. We do see an improved contribution over the next year or so. It probably won't be enough to offset the other areas of the economy.

December's trade data supported the message from yesterday's industrial production figures that the economy is unlikely to rebalance away from the consumer and towards the external sector any time soon.