Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - September 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 20 September 2011
  • The growth rate of nominal spending on consumer goods and services had weakened further.
  • The housing market remained subdued, in part because many first-time buyers continued to struggle to get on to the property ladder.
  • Investment intentions suggested further modest growth in spending on capital, although there had been a slight decline in the Agents’ scores.
  • The growth rate of manufacturing output for export remained robust, but had slowed a little in recent months.
  • Growth in manufacturing output for the domestic market had also slowed recently.
  • There had been further modest growth in business services turnover, largely due to rising fees for some specialist professions, and pass-through of past increases in fuel prices.
  • The level of activity in the construction sector was broadly in line with that a year earlier, as public sector work had held up slightly better than expected.
  • Private sector employment intentions had weakened somewhat in recent months and now pointed to only modest job creation over the coming year.
  • Capacity utilisation was around normal in manufacturing, with rather more in services, although there was significant dispersion across subsectors.
  • Private sector total labour costs continued to grow at an annual rate of around 2%–3%.
  • Raw materials costs appeared to have levelled off, although for some contacts the cost of energy was expected to pick up as contract renewals fell due.
  • Along with rising production costs, the higher cost of materials continued to feed through to the price of imported finished goods, although there were tentative signs of a slowing in the pace of import price inflation.
  • Output price inflation continued to reflect only partial pass-through of the higher costs of materials and imports of finished goods.
  • Annual inflation in the price of consumer goods and services remained elevated, largely due to the rise in VAT, and the increases in the prices of energy and imported goods.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - September 2011

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