Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - January 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 25 January 2011
  • Severe weather conditions had lowered the growth rate of household spending, with consumer services more adversely affected than retail sales.
  • In the housing market, concerns about future income growth and the path of house prices were reported to be weighing on demand.
  • Investment intentions pointed to a moderate pace of growth over the next twelve months, underpinned by firms’ efforts to improve efficiency and the need to replace existing capital.
  • The Agents’ score for manufacturing export values reached a new series high, driven by trade with emerging markets.
  • Services turnover growth continued at a modest pace, supported by rising private sector demand, but there was still downward pressure on fees.
  • Foreign demand was providing a boost to manufacturing output, but conditions for domestic-facing firms remained weaker.
  • According to contacts, the level of activity in construction was still subdued, and the outlook for growth was thought to be fragile.
  • Credit continued to have become more widely available for large firms, but much less so for small ones, many of which were still focused on paying back debt.
  • Private sector employment intentions rose further, with contacts in both manufacturing and services expecting to recruit, albeit cautiously.
  • Capacity utilisation had returned to normal for many manufacturers. But contacts in services continued to report somewhat larger amounts of slack.
  • Labour costs were rising at a rate approaching the pre-recession pace in manufacturing, but were increasing a little more slowly in services.
  • Contacts continued to report increases in the cost of raw materials, and that had started to feed through to the price of imported finished goods.
  • Higher input costs were apparent to some degree in manufacturing output prices, but the price of services remained under downward pressure.
  • The pace of inflation in consumer goods was slightly higher than average, but was broadly in line with the average in services. 


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - January 2011

This page was last updated 31 January 2023