Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - May 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 23 May 2012
  • Consumer demand had grown a little in recent months.
  • Activity in the housing market continued to rise.
  • Private sector investment intentions pointed to a small increase in capital spending over the coming year.
  • Goods export growth remained strong, particularly to emerging market economies.
  • Turnover in business services had improved a little compared with a year earlier, partly due to higher prices.
  • Manufacturing output for the domestic market continued to expand at a moderate pace.
  • There had been a further contraction in construction output, in large part due to declining work for the public sector.
  • For firms with strong balance sheets, credit was normally available on reasonable terms. But for some businesses there had been a rise in the interest rate spreads charged on loans over the past few months, and fees were also reported to have increased.
  • Private sector employment was expected to be broadly unchanged over the next six months.
  • In manufacturing, capacity utilisation was a little below normal, with most firms able to meet expected changes in demand comfortably. There tended to be relatively more slack in the service sector.
  • Labour cost growth remained fairly modest, and there were generally few signs of upward pressure on pay from employees.
  • Input cost inflation remained around its historical average. But the Agents’ score had edged up, as past increases in the price of oil fed through to a range of materials, and rising production costs abroad pushed up on import prices. Manufacturing output prices continued to rise at a moderate pace reflecting some pass-through of increases in costs. Business services inflation was subdued, but had picked up a little.
  • Consumer price inflation remained elevated.

PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - May 2012

This page was last updated 31 January 2023