Agents' summary of business conditions - 2015 Q4

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 16 December 2015

This publication is a summary of monthly reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents between late August 2015 and late November 2015. It generally makes comparisons with activity and prices a year earlier.

  • Activity had generally grown steadily on a year earlier, alongside rising real incomes and resilient consumer confidence. However, manufacturing output growth had slowed as the strength of sterling and sluggish world growth had adversely affected export supply chains.
  • Corporate credit availability had increased slightly further for many contacts, although some very large companies reported that risk appetite in corporate debt markets had eased back a little recently. Credit demand had remained subdued, reflected in high levels of cash holdings among companies.
  • Employment intentions had eased overall, reflecting some increased uncertainty about business prospects and a greater focus on raising productivity to offset expected increases in labour costs. However, an increasing number of contacts reported that low inflation had started to hold back wage growth.

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