We regularly publish a summary of reports compiled by our twelve regional Agents following discussions with around 700 businesses across the UK. The report provides information on business conditions from firms across all sectors of the economy.
The reports do not represent the Bank's views, or those of any particular firm or region.
As well as their reports, our Agents also produce quantitative assessments of economic conditions as seen from their region. These scores provide numerical measures of the intelligence that they gather from month to month, and cover some areas of the economy for which there are no official statistics.
How we use the Agents' intelligence
Our Monetary Policy Committee uses the intelligence provided by the Agents, alongside information from other sources, to help it understand and assess current economic conditions.
Latest update - 8 February 2017
This publication covers intelligence gathered from business contacts between late November 2016 and mid-January 2017. It generally makes comparisons with activity and prices over the past three months on a year earlier.
- Consumer spending growth had remained resilient, but was expected to ease during the year as prices rose. Investment intentions had edged higher and pointed to small increases in spending during 2017. Export volumes growth had risen due to the fall in sterling and stronger world growth.
- Hiring plans had edged up, but pointed to little change in staffing overall in the next six months. A survey indicated a modest rise in total labour cost growth in the year ahead (see box on page 2). That was partly due to difficulties in hiring and holding on to staff and costs from the forthcoming apprenticeship levy.
- Price pressures had continued to build through supply chains following sterling’s fall. So far, the main effect on consumer prices had been higher food and fuel prices. But a wider range of goods prices were expected to be affected over the coming year, causing inflation to rise further.
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