Round Up - Cars, Brexit, Taylor Wimpey, Howden, WPP

British car production rose 9.8% in March – the best output for 12 years. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said 159,074 cars were built in the first quarter or one every 16 seconds. It marks the best first quarter figures since 2004. Domestic output was up 8% with exports 11% higher. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Much will depend on economic and political conditions in key markets but, with several brand new global models starting production here in the first quarter alone the prospects for future growth look bright.”

A group of eight economists, under the name of Economists for Brexit, have said that leaving the EU would boost the UK economy by 4% in 10 years. They said being free of tariffs on imported goods would see prices in the UK fall by 8%. The economists include Professor Patrick Minford, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and former Standard Chartered Bank chief economist Gerard Lyons. “People should not be worried about Brexit. It will allow us to position the UK economy globally,” Lyons said.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said customer demand has risen 14% in the first four months of the year with sales increasing to 0.80 sales per outlet every week. That is up from 0.76 this time last year. Its total order book stands at 8,811 homes up from 8,200 homes. Pete Redfern, chief executive said: “Good access to mortgages is driving strong sales rates.”

Howden Joinery said UK revenues rose 8.7% in the 16 weeks to April 16 and is on track to open 30 new depots this year. The group has 625 depots in the UK at present.

Advertising group WPP said first quarter revenues rose 10.5% to £3billion helped by increased demand for digital ads in the US and UK.