Agents' summary of business conditions - July 2016 Update

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 20 July 2016

This Update covers intelligence gathered from business contacts between late May 2016 and late June 2016. This report generally makes comparisons with activity and prices over the past three months on a year earlier. It represents the aggregate view offered from business contacts across the whole of the United Kingdom.

  • This Update generally covers business conditions in the month preceding the EU referendum, but also provides a summary of intelligence gathered following the vote to leave the EU.
  • The annual rate of activity growth had remained moderate and little changed in the month up to the EU referendum. Consumer spending and construction output growth had eased a little, offset by a pickup in manufacturing growth from a low base. There had been further signs of uncertainty leading to delays in
    decision-taking, including on capital spending, hiring and property investment.
  • Following the EU referendum, business uncertainty had risen markedly. Many firms had only just begun to formulate new business strategies in response to the vote and, for the time being, were seeking to maintain ‘business as usual’. A majority of firms spoken with did not expect a near-term impact from the result on their investment or staff hiring plans. But around a third of contacts thought there would be some negative impact on those plans over the next twelve months. As yet, there was no clear evidence of a sharp general slowing in activity. A box on page 3 provides more details on intelligence gathered since the referendum.

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