Continued growth in consumer services and retail sales turnover
UK consumer services and retail sales turnover continued to grow moderately during the past month, according to the latest agents’ summary of business conditions compiled by the Bank of England.
The report also shows that, between late April and late May, housing market transactions remained lower than a year earlier, with some contacts reporting shortages in the supply of homes for sale as the driver of this weakness.
Business services turnover growth remained robust and broad-based, and manufacturing output growth edged higher for the domestic market. Growth in goods exports remained subdued overall.
Construction output growth eased further, but pointed to moderate growth.
Investment intentions point to moderate growth in capital expenditure over the next 12 months. Corporate credit conditions remained at a level somewhat above normal, though they continue to vary by firm size and sector.
Employment intentions edged higher and were consistent with modest headcount growth. Recruitment difficulties increased slightly, becoming somewhat more broad-based.
Capacity utilisation eased slightly in manufacturing, but remained slightly above normal for services. Growth in total labour costs per employee was steady.
Materials costs continued to fall overall. The rate of decline in some imported finished goods prices eased. Output prices continued to fall on a year earlier for manufacturers, but rose moderately for business services firms.
Profitability growth edged down for manufacturers, and remained modest for services. Consumer price inflation remained negative for goods; retail service prices continued to increase modestly.