Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The BoE agent survey points to a nasty year ahead.

Here is my second attempt at a slideshow. This time, we take a look at the most recent Bank of England agent survey.

The survey deserves much more attention that it currently gets. The regional agents ask firms about a range of issues; prices, investment, profitability and employment. The agents then compile these responses into a set of scores, which gives us perhaps the best insight into the future path of the UK economy.

The most recent survey is very grim; it clearly points to higher inflation, declining investment, lower sales and possibly a recession.

A quick word on the slideshow. If it is on autoplay there is no way to slow it down and slides disappear after about 4 seconds. If you want to slow it down, pass your mouse over the image, and a stop button will appear. Press on the button and view the slides manually. Alternatively, double click on the image, and you will be taken to the picassa webside where you will have the option to slow the slideshow down directly.


  1. Any chance of Y-axis labels?

  2. From the BoE's website....

    The Bank of England has twelve regional offices, or Agencies. Their main function is to provide economic intelligence to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)
    ahead of its interest rate decision.

    The Agencies have around 8,000 contacts drawn from the business community. Each month they talk to around 700 contacts, or about 60 per Agency, with a cross-section of companies in terms of sector, location and size, in order to get a reasonably balanced view of the latest economic developments. The specific details of the individual meetings and companies are confidential; the Agencies report inferences about the broader economy based on their iscussions. The information has the advantage of being both timely and relevant to the current economic conjuncture. And because the Agents hold fairly lengthy discussions with their contacts, they can provide some real-world insight into recent developments. They also gather information on future prospects.

    Each month, the Agents and Deputy Agents in each region review the information they have gathered on
    economic conditions, and take a view on whether conditions have changed to an extent that warrants
    changing one of their scores. The individual judgements on what value to score are ultimately subjective ones, rather than being based on scientific models or methods. Instead, the scores
    are a simple way of translating the information from Agents’ contacts into a quantitative assessment of the economy over time, as seen through the eyes of the Agents. Unlike data produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the whole sample of companies on which the scores are based changes each month. In addition, the scores are not based on a mechanical method for taking into account the business size of the Agents’ contacts, although the Agents do try to make the sample representative, and place more
    weight on larger firms."

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