UK - Pension deficits have had relatively little impact on companies' business decisions, although there has been an effect on wages, says the Bank of England.

"Overall, pension deficits appear to have had a relatively limited impact on the employment, pricing and investment decisions of most firms," the central bank said in its latest quarterly Inflation Report. 

"But there is greater evidence that wages have been affected," the bank added. 

It was generally small firm's economic behaviour that has been influenced most.

"While funding a pension deficit is a financial cost for firms, it does not affect the cost of producing an additional unit of output," the bank argued.

"That implies a minimal impact on the pricing and investment decisions of companies seeking to maximise profits, other than where access to further credit is limited."

The comments were based on a survey conducted by its regional agents in May and June, covering 210 companies with a turnover of more than £270bn.

The bank's view was borne out by Aberdeen Asset Managers' pan-European equities head Chou Chong, who suggested headlines about companies' pension deficits were a distraction.

The Bank of England said corporate finances remain healthy and that "companies may be retaining surpluses against future uncertainties such as pension liabilities".

Corporate pension contributions had more than doubled in the past four years, the BOE said.