Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - February 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 16 February 2009
  • Consumers’ expenditure had continued to contract. There were signs that the pickup in non-food sales in the period immediately after Christmas had been short-lived.
  • Investment intentions remained at the weak levels reported in recent months.
  • External demand had continued to slow sharply, with the volume of manufactured goods exports now lower than a year earlier.
  • Contacts’ concerns over the cost and availability of working capital remained elevated.
  • Employment intentions had been scaled back further across all sectors. Average hours had been cut. And permanent staffing levels had also been reduced, with further redundancies expected during early 2009.
  • Growth in per capita labour costs had slowed. Respondents to a special survey on pay prospects expected 2009’s wage settlements to be markedly lower than those made during 2008, with many planning pay freezes (see box).
  • Annual input and output price inflation had fallen further.
  • Inflation in imported finished goods prices remained elevated. So far there had been only tentative signs of pass-through to retail goods prices. There, the picture had continued to be dominated by the depth and persistence of discounting. Looking forward, however, a number of retailers and distributors planned
    to raise prices if sterling remained at its current level.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - February 2009

Other Agents' summary of business conditions

This page was last updated 31 January 2023