Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - November 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 22 November 2011
  • The annual growth rate of nominal spending on consumer goods and services remained very weak.
  • The level of activity in the housing market remained subdued, with less of a pickup than usual after the summer.
  • Investment intentions pointed to a further modest increase in spending on capital over the coming year.
  • Exports of goods continued to grow steadily, although there had been some slowing in orders reflecting both softer world demand and rising uncertainty.
  • Manufacturing output was still growing compared with a year earlier, but the pace of growth had been declining for some months.
  • The growth rate of business services turnover had also fallen over the past few months, due to weakness in professional and financial services.
  • There had been a slight contraction in construction output, compared with a year earlier, and activity was expected to fall further.
  • Firms in a strong financial position could access credit on competitive terms, but small businesses often reported that conditions remained tight, and in some cases had become tighter.
  • Employment intentions had softened recently, with increasing uncertainty leading to greater caution in some cases.
  • The level of capacity utilisation was around normal in manufacturing, but had fallen a little over the past few months. There remained a degree of slack in services.
  • Total labour cost growth remained modest, and slowing activity had lessened upward pressures on pay.
  • Raw materials costs inflation continued to fall back.
  • Import price inflation had levelled off, albeit at a high rate, following the easing in materials cost inflation.
  • Manufacturing output price inflation continued to rise steadily, while inflation in business services was more restrained.
  • Annual inflation for consumer goods and services remained elevated.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - November 2011

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