The latest health check on Britain's manufacturers, builders and services firms will be examined by the Bank of England this week, as it prepares to step up its money-printing efforts.
The batch of purchasing manager indices covering January from Markit, the financial-information firm, will be the Monetary Policy Committee's most timely indicator of the country's economic fortunes, ahead of a crucial February meeting.
If the slight signs of momentum seen in December continue into January, the committee may opt to go ahead with a smaller dose of quantitative easing than the £75bn currently pencilled in by most economists.
Any sign of good news will also be seized on by the Chancellor, George Osborne, after official figures revealed a 0.2 per cent decline for the economy in the final quarter of 2011. This suggests the UK is on course for a double-dip recession.