Agents' summary of business conditions - January 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 21 January 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 November 2014 and late December 2014.

  • Retail sales values growth had edged higher and consumer services turnover growth had picked up slightly.
  • Housing market activity had been subdued relative to levels a year earlier.
  • Investment intentions for the next twelve months had continued to ease slightly, but were consistent with moderate growth overall.
  • Business services turnover growth had edged down slightly, but remained relatively robust.
  • Manufacturing output growth for the domestic market had eased slightly, and manufacturing export growth had slowed further.
  • Construction output growth had remained strong.
  • Corporate credit conditions had continued to improve, with evidence of increased competition among lenders.
  • Employment intentions had eased for manufacturers, but were consistent with modest headcount growth overall.
  • Recruitment difficulties had been little changed at a level somewhat above normal.
  • Capacity utilisation was at broadly normal levels in manufacturing, but slightly above normal for services.
  • Growth in total labour costs per employee had been steady, though there were signs of increasing wage pressures in some subsectors with skills shortages.
  • Materials costs and imported finished goods prices had remained lower than a year earlier.
  • Output prices were little changed on a year earlier in manufacturing, though had increased moderately in business services.
  • Consumer price inflation had turned negative for goods. Moderate rates of inflation in services prices had continued.

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This page was last updated 31 January 2023