Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - May 2017

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 17 May 2017

This publication is a summary of monthly reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents between late March and mid-April 2017. It generally makes comparisons with activity and prices a year earlier.

  • Consumer spending growth had moderated in real terms, as spending power had been hit by higher prices. But manufacturing export growth had risen. That had mostly reflected the effects of the earlier decline in sterling. Investment intentions had also edged higher and were consistent with modest growth in spending over the year ahead.
  • In the labour market, recruitment conditions had tightened a little further, with skills shortages reported in a wider range of activities. Labour costs growth had edged up in manufacturing. But pay awards remained clustered around 2%–2½% across the economy.
  • Consumer goods price inflation had picked up markedly. That largely reflected the effects of sterling’s earlier fall feeding through supply chains and into retail prices. Consumer services price inflation had also increased, but to a lesser degree.

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