Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - October 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 19 October 2009
  • There had been little change to the picture of modest growth in consumer spending and housing market activity.
  • Investment intentions remained muted, weighed down by the margin of spare capacity and uncertainty over the sustainability of any pickup in demand. But the number of exceptions to that depressed picture had grown through the summer.
  • There had been a further slight improvement in the tone of reports from exporters.
  • Most contacts had now completed the process of de-stocking, leaving relatively few still concerned that their inventories remained above sustainable levels.
  • Manufacturing output appeared to have stabilised. And a growing number of business services providers had reported a pickup in demand. Construction activity remained severely depressed despite a small-scale increase in house building.
  • Some larger firms had experienced easier credit conditions. But many other firms still perceived credit supply to be very tight.
  • The pace of decline in employment had eased. A special survey of the Agents’ contacts suggested that few expected to make substantial cuts to headcount over the next few months (see box).
  • Per capita labour costs remained below their levels a year earlier. There was no clear directional sense to firms’ reports of changes in their materials costs.
  • Consumer goods price inflation remained low, but some prices had drifted up in recent months.

 

PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - October 2009

Other Agents' summary of business conditions

This page was last updated 11 January 2019
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