Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - August 2011

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 August 2011
  • The growth rate of nominal spending on consumer goods and services remained weak.
  • Activity in the housing market continued to be subdued, and was thought to have fallen further in some areas.
  • Firms planned further investment to find efficiencies and in some cases build capacity, but the growth rate of capital spending was expected to level off.
  • The Agents’ score for growth in goods exports had fallen back somewhat from recent highs.
  • There had been a slowing in the pace of growth of manufacturing output, reflecting softening domestic demand as well as the slight moderation in export growth.
  • Turnover in business services was growing at a modest pace, as rising private sector activity offset slowing public sector work.
  • The gradual pace of growth in construction continued, but a marked fall in new public sector orders was beginning to be felt.
  • Contacts in manufacturing and business services were planning further modest increases in employment over the next year, while consumer-facing businesses planned to keep headcount broadly flat.
  • Capacity utilisation was around normal in manufacturing. Services firms typically reported some degree of slack.
  • The annual rate of labour cost growth continued at around 2%–3% in both manufacturing and services. Upward pressure appeared relatively more muted in the latter.
  • Inflation in raw materials costs remained high but was thought to have been slowing. But many contacts would not feel the full impact of higher energy prices until contracts were renewed later in the year.
  • Elevated inflation in the price of imported finished goods continued to be boosted by increases in materials costs, wages in emerging markets, and transport costs.
  • Output price inflation remained high as rising materials and import costs were passed on, albeit only partially.
  • Consumer goods and services price inflation remained high.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - August 2011

This page was last updated 31 January 2023