Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - May 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 17 May 2011
  • The annual growth rate of retail sales values continued to slow, despite the elevated rate of inflation.
  • Nominal spending on consumer services weakened further.
  • Activity in the housing market had softened somewhat, attributed mostly to households’ concerns about further falls in house prices and uncertainty about earnings.
  • Investment intentions pointed to a moderate pace of growth in capital spending over the next twelve months.
  • Goods exports continued to grow quickly, driven by robust demand from emerging markets and developed economies, including Germany and the United States.
  • Manufacturing output for the domestic market was growing more slowly than for exports.
  • Demand for business services was growing at a modest pace.
  • Construction output appeared broadly in line with a year earlier. Contacts remained downbeat about the outlook.
  • Employment intentions pointed to continued job growth, but plans for further recruitment in consumer services were being revised down.
  • Manufacturers were operating with normal levels of spare capacity, but there remained a degree of slack in the service sector.
  • Total labour costs were rising at a moderate pace in both manufacturing and services.
  • The cost of raw materials continued to rise rapidly, due to growing world demand and persistent supply shortages.
  • The increase in the cost of raw materials — along with rising wages in Asia and higher transport costs — was pushing up the price of imported finished goods.
  • Some of those increases in costs had been passed on in output prices, but many contacts felt that they had limited pricing power to do so.
  • Consumer goods and services inflation remained elevated.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - May 2011

This page was last updated 31 January 2023