The Bank Of England Agents’ summary of business conditions for April 2011
20th April 2011
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• The growth rate of nominal spending on retail goods slowed, while goods price inflation continued to rise.

• Growth in spending on consumer services remained weak.

• Activity in the housing market appeared to have softened slightly, although there had been a slight

increase in demand for newly built homes.

• Investment intentions suggested that growth in capital spending was likely to strengthen a little further

over the next twelve months.

• Emerging market demand continued to support growth of exports of goods, and demand from Europe and

the United States was beginning to pick up.

• Domestic demand had provided only a modest spur to manufacturing output growth.

• The underlying level of activity in the construction sector remained weak.

• There had been a further rise in employment intentions in manufacturing and business services, but

intentions had dipped for consumer-facing firms.

• The level of capacity utilisation was broadly normal in the manufacturing sector, but there was still

significant slack in the service sector.

• Total labour costs had been growing at a moderate pace, and the Agents’ scores had drifted a little higher

on the month.

• Inflation in the prices of raw materials had picked up further, adding to the upward pressures from rising

foreign wages on the cost of imported finished goods.

• Output prices in manufacturing had risen somewhat in response to rising costs, but for business services

they were broadly flat compared to a year earlier.

• The rate of inflation in both consumer goods and services was above its historical average, reflecting the

recent increase in VAT, and the rising costs of imports, raw materials and fuel.


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