By Jacqueline Dwyer of the Bank's Inflation Report and Bulletin Division.
The Bank's Agents collect economic intelligence from the business community around the United Kingdom, enriching the range of information available to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). This intelligence is largely qualitative, and provides timely insights into economic conditions and behaviour not available from published data alone. While the greatest value from their intelligence gathering is such insight, Agents also make quantitative judgements about economic conditions in the form of a series of scores. With a decade of scores now available, this article reviews their properties and usefulness. The scores are found to be well correlated with many official data series, with correlations tending to increase through time. Some scores are also useful in predicting revisions to official data, or capturing major turning points in economic activity. Consequently, they make a valuable addition to the broad suite of information reviewed by the MPC in its policy deliberations.