Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - April 2009

We regularly publish a summary of reports compiled by our twelve regional Agents following discussions with at least 700 businesses across the UK every reporting period.
Published on 20 April 2009
  • Consumer spending had remained weak, but there were some further reports that the rate of contraction of retail sales had eased.
  • There had been a further pickup in housing market activity — albeit from a very low base.
  • Investment intentions remained weak.
  • Export volumes had shrunk further, as the slowdown in global demand outweighed any gains to competitiveness arising from sterling’s depreciation. Imports had continued to contract sharply.
  • Destocking had continued throughout the first quarter.
  • There was little change to the picture of sharply contracting output across the manufacturing, construction and services sectors.
  • Credit conditions had continued to be a major concern for many firms, with no signs of easing in recent months.
  • Labour demand had continued to shrink. While many firms had made further cuts to average hours, headcount had also contracted. Cuts in average hours, lower bonuses and low pay settlements had left per capita labour costs lower than a year earlier.
  • On average, there had been little change in the rate of inflation in materials prices. Inflation in output prices had slowed further as weak demand conditions had continued to press down on suppliers’ margins.
  • Consumer goods prices: promotional activity had continued to push against the impact of rising import prices, and of increases in the prices of some products to pricing points seen before the VAT cut.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - April 2009

Other Agents' summary of business conditions

This page was last updated 31 January 2023