Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - December 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 19 December 2012
  • There was a further gentle pickup in retail sales growth. Growth in consumer services slowed marginally, in part reflecting a slight fall back following the Olympics-related boost.
  • Housing market activity was flat to slightly up on a year earlier.
  • Investment intentions remained slightly positive within manufacturing and services.
  • The slowdown in export growth had eased marginally, and sales remained slightly higher on a year earlier.
  • Business services turnover growth remained modest, constrained by subdued demand and intense competition, which was restricting pricing power.
  • Annual manufacturing output growth remained marginally negative. Production for export continued to outperform that for domestic markets, although weakening in the euro area was affecting volumes.
  • Construction output continued to decline through 2012, and remained at low levels.
  • The Funding for Lending Scheme appeared to be having a more immediate impact on the mortgage market than on business lending. Demand for bank borrowing among smaller firms remained weak.
  • Employment intentions over the next six months remained broadly flat.
  • Firms in manufacturing and services were operating at slightly below normal levels of capacity utilisation.
  • Labour costs per employee continued to grow at a modest rate in both manufacturing and services.
  • Non-labour cost inflation on average remained benign, but the picture was very mixed across different commodities and other inputs.
  • Manufacturers’ output prices were increasing modestly. Pricing power was generally weaker in services.
  • Consumer goods price inflation had picked up marginally. Consumer services price inflation had also increased a little.

PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - December 2012

This page was last updated 31 January 2023