Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - April 2013

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 17 April 2013
  • Annual retail sales values growth had edged higher, resuming the gradual recovery reported since the middle of 2012.
  • There were further reports of improving housing market activity, both for new home sales and secondary market transactions. An easing of mortgage conditions was said to be leading to some ‘freeing up’ of the housing market.
  • Investment intentions for the coming twelve months remained subdued.
  • Manufacturing exports had continued to pick up gently on a year earlier, as a result of gains in market share and some strengthening in global demand outside the euro area.
  • Manufacturing output for the domestic market had remained broadly flat on a year earlier.
  • Annual growth in business services turnover had edged higher since the turn of the year.
  • The annual rate of decline in construction output had diminished. There were increased reports of a gradual recovery in private housebuilding.
  • The availability of credit had improved for larger and some medium-sized corporates in recent months, but not for most small firms. Demand for bank lending had remained weak.
  • Employment intentions had remained little changed and indicated a gradual rise in employment in business services, a flat manufacturing workforce, and gradual shrinkage in the number of staff employed in consumer services.
  • Capacity utilisation had remained a little below normal in both manufacturing and services and was unchanged on the month. Reports of recruitment difficulties were largely confined to IT and engineering staff.
  • The annual rate of growth in labour costs per employee had remained subdued, though it had edged up a little in manufacturing.
  • The rate of inflation was reported to have edged higher for imported finished goods, and to a lesser extent for materials’ costs, in part reflecting the effects of sterling’s recent depreciation.
  • Manufacturers’ and business services’ output price inflation had edged higher from a low base.
  • The rate of inflation in retail goods prices had ticked up, but was unchanged for retail services.

PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - April 2013

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