Agents' summary of business conditions - 2016 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 21 December 2016

This publication is a summary of monthly reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents between late August 2016 and late November 2016. It generally makes comparisons with activity and prices a year earlier.

  • Activity growth had edged up, but businesses remained cautious about prospects. The fall in sterling since June had led to higher goods export volumes. Consumer demand had been boosted by rising tourist spending.
  • Contacts expected consumer spending to slow next year as higher inflation squeezed consumers’ spending power. Firms’ intentions pointed to only small increases in investment over the coming twelve months. Many companies were choosing to hold a larger amount of cash given high levels of uncertainty.
  • Input cost inflation had picked up sharply. That was expected to start affecting consumer prices more noticeably in the New Year. Wage growth had remained stable, but some contacts expected upward pressures, including from higher inflation next year.

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