Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - July 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 July 2012
  • There had been a slowing in the annual growth rate of consumer demand, with contacts reporting that confidence had dipped due to worries about the economic outlook.
  • There had been further signs of weakening in the housing market.
  • Investment intentions had softened a little, but remained positive, and there was a general sense of stepping back from expansion plans.
  • Export growth remained strong but had slowed further on the month, in large part due to weaker demand in the euro area.
  • In the business services sector, turnover continued to edge higher, but the annual rate of growth had slowed a little over the past few months.
  • Manufacturing output growth had weakened somewhat, after having picked up during the spring. That was mainly down to the slowing in export growth.
  • There had been a further decline in construction output compared with a year earlier, in large part due to weakness in public sector spending.
  • Contacts continued to report that loan rates and fees were rising when facilities came to be renewed. And small firms were still often struggling to secure credit.
  • Private sector employers did not expect much change in staff numbers over the next six months.
  • There was a small margin of spare capacity in the manufacturing sector. There was a somewhat greater degree of underutilised labour and capital in the service sector.
  • Labour costs continued to grow at a moderate pace, with settlements tending to be a little higher in the manufacturing sector than in services, due largely to its relatively stronger performance over the past year.
  • Materials cost inflation eased further, with the prices of various commodities having levelled off, or even fallen in some cases.
  • Manufacturing output price inflation continued to slow gradually, as the impetus from rising input costs began to wane. There was very little upward pressure on the price of business services.
  • Consumer price inflation had slowed a little further on the month.

PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - July 2012

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