March 22, 2017 / 9:52 AM / 6 months ago

Bank of England reports stronger investment plans, weaker retail

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - British businesses are becoming more willing to invest, offering some support for the economy as the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote erodes consumer demand, a Bank of England survey showed on Wednesday.

The report from the BoE’s regional agents tallied with forecasts made by the central bank last month which pointed to solid growth this year despite last year’s Brexit referendum shock, with stronger business investment and exports expected to fill much of the gap left by a slowing of retail spending.

“Investment intentions had picked up. That reflected continued steady demand growth and some reduction in uncertainty about economic prospects, particularly in the near term,” the BoE said, though it noted uncertainty about Britain’s long-run relations with the European Union hurt some longer-term plans.

Labour cost growth remained subdued, with businesses mostly offering staff annual pay deals of 2.0-2.5 percent. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)

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