Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - January 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 January 2009
  • Consumers’ expenditure had contracted further during late November and early December. And for most retailers, sales over the Christmas period had been lower than in the previous year.
  • Investment intentions had been reduced sharply during 2008 Q4.
  • Exports had slowed sharply. More industries were now experiencing shrinkage in export demand.
  • Output had contracted more rapidly than earlier in the year. During 2008 Q4, the slowdown had been most marked in the manufacturing sector, as firms cut production in the wake of a mounting excess of stocks over planned levels.
  • Contacts’ concerns over availability of working capital remained elevated. This reflected both an ongoing tightening in availability of bank funding and trade credit and the pressures on corporate cash flow arising from the deteriorating macroeconomic outlook.
  • Employment intentions had been scaled back further, with an increase in redundancies. Further redundancies were planned for 2009.
  • Growth in per capita labour costs had slowed. Looking forward, there had been a material increase in the proportion of firms planning for a settlement freeze.
  • Annual input inflation had fallen back sharply for many imported raw materials, as falling foreign currency prices more than offset the impact of sterling’s recent depreciation.
  • Retail goods and service price inflation had also fallen sharply. The VAT cut had been widely implemented. And pre-Christmas discounting had been deep.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - January 2009

Other Agents' summary of business conditions

This page was last updated 31 January 2023