Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - April 2012

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 18 April 2012
  • Consumer demand growth remained modest, although there were some reports of an improvement in trading conditions over the past few months.
  • There had been tentative signs of a rise in activity in the housing market, although demand was still significantly below its pre-recession level.
  • Investment intentions pointed to a gradual rise in capital spending over the coming year, and plans had strengthened a little recently.
  • Export growth remained robust, and had edged upward on the month.
  • There had been an increase in the rate of growth of business services turnover.
  • Contacts reported a modest increase in manufacturing output for the domestic market.
  • Output in the construction sector was thought to be lower than a year earlier.
  • Contacts reported that there had been some tightening in credit conditions, primarily in terms of the cost of finance. Most firms still had access to credit if required.
  • Private sector employment intentions suggested that employment was likely to be broadly flat over the next six months.
  • Levels of capacity utilisation were typically somewhat below normal, with rather more slack in services than manufacturing.
  • Labour costs were rising at a moderate pace.
  • Non-labour costs continued to grow steadily, but the pace of inflation had slowed in recent months, and was now around its historical average.
  • Manufacturing output price inflation had begun to decline, reflecting slowing inflation in input costs. The prices charged by business services were broadly flat on a year earlier.
  • Consumer price inflation continued to edge down, but remained elevated.

PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - April 2012

This page was last updated 31 January 2023