The following is an extract from the monthly Barometer press release issued by the University on Monday 3rd October 2005.

Oil price increases 'will have impact', August survey finds

The recent upturn in fuel costs, was one of the issues covered in the August surveys and results revealed that almost nine out of ten respondents to the UKBB expect spiralling oil prices will have an impact on their business. Of the companies questioned, 24 per cent believed the price increases would have a 'significant' impact, while a further 60 per cent are expecting some impact.Contributors to the Business Adviser Barometer felt the same way showing 25 per cent and 66 per cent in the same categories.

More businesses finding it difficult to survive in the current climate.

In amongst a series of questions posed by the Small Business Service, the advisers were asked whether there have been changes in the number of businesses 'struggling to survive' in the current business climate. Some 56 per cent reported that the number had increased, including 12 per cent who said it had 'increased significantly'.

Difficult conditions also reflected in another part of the Business Barometer

Another of the key observers of the Barometer project is the Bank of England and of particular interest to them is change in pre-tax profit margins. We used the August survey as an opportunity to compare current conditions with those prevailing in 2004. Respondents indicated that over the last six months, 21 per cent of them had seen pre-tax profit margins rise, while 44 per cent had experienced a decrease. This contrasted with the last time this type of question was posed, in November 2004, when 55 per cent had seen rises and 14 per cent had seen falls. However the next six months appears brighter, with 29 per cent expecting pre-tax profits to grow, and 20 per cent expecting reductions.

Other issues touched upon in the survey included investment in plant and equipment, how often computer hardware is upgraded, changes in employee numbers and whether modern technology is more or less user-friendly than five years ago.

Full versions of press releases can be found on the 'Presspack' pages of the project's websites, as can 'Survey Presspacks', which include further analysis and panellists' comments. To access them, please use the links below.

For the UKBB click here.

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