The Bank of England’s national survey, the Agent’s Summary of Business Conditions for November, showed housing activity has picked up but the extent of the uplift is variable across the country, although rents continue to rise.
Consumer spending and confidence has recovered further but foreign tourists have been enjoying a weaker pound as shopping sprees involving luxury goods have increased. Sterling’s depreciation had aided manufacturing exporters and UK businesses competing against imports.
Business services turnover, manufacturing output for the domestic and foreign markets and construction output sentiment have all grown.
Investor demand for UK commercial real estate continued to recover although sentiment remained fragile and transactions remained low by historical comparison.
However, the conditions for employment look stable, confirmed the Bank, over the coming six months. Growth in total labour costs remain unchanged with most pay awards ranging between 1% and 3%, with slightly higher settlements in services than in manufacturing.
The Bank’s Agents surveyed their contacts up and down the country to ask about changes to investment over the past year and for the 12 months ahead.
In October, the Ernst and Young Item Club confirmed the UK economy has shown “greater resilience” than anticipated since the EU referendum vote, but expects lower growth rates over the next couple of years.
The EY Item Club predicted a slowdown in consumer spending on the back of higher inflation and falling business investment.
This year it expects GDP growth of 1.9%, supported by strong consumer spending (up by 2.5%) and very low inflation (0.8%).