Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - March 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 23 March 2011
  • The annual growth rate of real consumer spending had slowed for both consumer goods and services.
  • There had been a slight improvement in activity in the housing market, but it remained depressed.
  • Among manufacturers, investment plans pointed to steady growth in capital spending over the coming year.
  • Goods exports continued to rise rapidly, driven primarily by demand from emerging markets and some European countries.
  • Business services turnover was reported to be growing at a gentle pace.
  • Domestic manufacturing output was rising steadily, partly reflecting increasing demand for investment goods.
  • The level of activity in the construction sector was a little higher than a year earlier, but declining public sector work was expected to weigh on growth going forward.
  • Firms with significant holdings of fixed assets had increasingly been able to secure bank loans, but most small companies did not perceive much of an improvement in the availability of credit.
  • Employment intentions in the manufacturing sector had picked up, reflecting rising output, but had remained broadly flat in services.
  • Capacity utilisation was reported to be around normal in manufacturing, but there was still significant spare capacity in the service sector.
  • Raw materials prices had continued to increase at a rapid pace. Along with higher wage costs abroad, that was pushing up on the price of imported finished goods.
  • Manufacturing output price inflation had risen further, as firms passed on some of the increase in input prices.
  • Consumer goods inflation had increased further, reflecting both higher VAT and a degree of pass-through of recent rises in the cost of imports and raw materials. Services inflation had also picked up. 


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - March 2011

This page was last updated 31 January 2023