This publication includes a summary of economic reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents in May 2019. It generally makes comparisons with activity and prices a year earlier.

This publication also includes a summary of information gathered by the Bank’s Decision Maker Panel survey.

  • Retail sales growth remained subdued, but consumer services growth picked up slightly, helped by the mild weather and late timing of Easter.
  • Total business services, including exports, continued to grow at a modest rate, as Brexit uncertainty weighed on demand for professional and financial services.
  • Manufacturing output including exports grew at a moderate pace, supported by growth in food production.
  • Output growth in the construction sector slowed. Overall activity was broadly flat compared with a year ago due to some housing and commercial property projects being scaled back.
  • Investment intentions weakened, as Brexit-related uncertainty weighed on sentiment, particularly among exporters.
  • Demand for bank credit among large and small companies remained subdued and there were reports that banks were less willing to lend to some sectors.
  • Brexit uncertainty continued to weigh on demand for commercial property and housing. However, there was strong demand for warehousing and prime office space.
  • Capacity constraints remained above normal, reflecting skill shortages and strong demand in some sectors.
  • Employment intentions weakened slightly, reflecting weaker hiring in manufacturing and consumer services. Growth in total labour costs was reported to have stabilised recently.
  • Consumer price inflation grew at a steady rate, as competition limited the scope for companies to increase prices.

Full report available here: Agents’ summary of business conditions 2019 Q2