Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - January 2010

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 18 January 2010
  • Over the Christmas period, most retailers had experienced stronger demand than during the same period a year earlier (see box).
  • In most parts of the United Kingdom, the gradual pickup in housing market activity had continued.
  • While investment intentions remained muted, few firms planned a second round of sharp cuts following last year’s sizable reductions in spending.
  • An increasing number of contacts had reported growth in exports relative to the same period a year earlier.
  • Many contacts planned to maintain their inventories at low levels after a bout of de-stocking earlier in the year.
  • Business services and manufacturing output remained down on the same period a year earlier. While there were few reports of further contraction in recent months, there was no consistent sense of robust recovery in activity. Construction remained severely depressed.
  • Credit conditions had eased during the second half of 2009, though that loosening had not been experienced uniformly across contacts.
  • Few firms were planning actively for further material cuts in employment. But few were looking to recruit significant numbers of permanent staff — the typical response to any growth in activity being to reverse previous cuts to average hours or make use of temporary staff.
  • Pay growth was expected to remain subdued through 2010. Inflation in materials costs remained low, but was expected to rise over the next year.
  • Consumer goods price inflation remained low, but positive. Looking forward, most retailers planned to pass at least a part of the 1 January 2010 increase in VAT on to their customers (see box).


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - January 2010

Other Agents' summary of business conditions

This page was last updated 31 January 2023