Agents' summary of business conditions - April 2015

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 22 April 2015

This publication is a summary of monthly reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents following discussions with contacts in the period between late February 2015 and late March 2015.

  • Consumer demand had continued to grow moderately.
  • Housing market transactions had picked up modestly since the start of the year, but were lower than a year earlier.
  • Investment intentions had pointed to modest growth in capital expenditure over the next twelve months.
  • Business services turnover growth had been robust across a range of subsectors.
  • Manufacturing output growth for both domestic and export markets had picked up slightly.
  • Construction output growth had moderated a little further, but remained robust.
  • Corporate credit availability had improved further.
  • Employment intentions had continued to point to modest headcount growth overall, and had edged a little higher for business services.
  • Recruitment difficulties had remained somewhat higher than normal.
  • Capacity utilisation in manufacturing had eased somewhat and was now a little below normal, but had remained slightly above normal in services.
  • Growth in total labour costs per employee had remained moderate.
  • Materials costs had eased further and, along with imported finished goods prices, were lower than a year earlier.
  • Output prices had fallen for manufacturers, but had increased modestly in business services relative to a year earlier. Profitability growth had eased marginally.
  • Consumer price inflation had fallen further for goods, but remained moderate for services.

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