Agents' summary of business conditions - 2017 Q1

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 March 2017

This publication is a summary of economic reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents between late November 2016 and late February 2017. It generally makes comparisons with activity and prices a year earlier.

  • Moderate rates of activity growth had continued overall. Retail sales volumes growth had eased. It was expected to slow further during the year ahead as the fall in sterling fed through to higher prices, reducing households’ purchasing power. In contrast, export volume growth had picked up. That was due to the fall in sterling and stronger world growth.
  • Investment intentions had picked up, pointing to modest growth in spending in the year ahead. That reflected continued moderate demand growth and less uncertainty about economic prospects, particularly in the near term. But a lack of visibility of the United Kingdom’s future trading arrangements was weighing on longer-term plans for some contacts.
  • The fall in sterling was being passed through into higher manufacturing output and consumer goods price inflation. Business and consumer services price inflation had edged higher.

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This page was last updated 27 December 2018