Bank’s March survey suggests economy starting to improve

Ben Southwood
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RETAIL sales, housing market activity, manufacturing exports and business services turnover all picked up slightly in March, according to Bank of England research out yesterday.

The Bank’s agents’ summary of business conditions continued a trend of very modest improvement, with slight upturns in growth across many key sectors.

Retail sales values scored 1.2 on the Bank’s measure, on which zero means no growth, up from one in February, and 0.5 in March 2012.

This came as part of a slow but steady improvement across the board, the Bank’s figures suggested.

The survey pointed to a slower decline in construction, with a “gradual recovery in housebuilding”, easier credit conditions and faster growing business turnover, as well as some recovery in the pace of manufacturing export expansion.