Neither Armageddon nor nirvana. That’s how the chair of Westminster’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee described the first month of the Northern Ireland Protocol.Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that when the Chancellor stands up at the despatch box on the 3rd March, this will be only Rishi Sunak’s second budget, and comes 51 weeks after his first. However, in that intervening period he has made another 13 fiscal announcements, with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (i.e. furlough scheme) the most significant.Continue reading
The global economy seems to be on track for a swift recovery. PMI prints across key geographies improved over the month, notwithstanding the effect of ongoing restrictions. What’s more, firms are increasingly upbeat on the outlook and even indicated reduced firing intentions.Continue reading
This time is different. Northern Ireland’s housing market was front and centre during the last recession during the late noughties. But this time is different. While output has posted its steepest fall in a century, the housing market has been one aspect of the economy that has fared better than most. Residential property prices have defied gravity and have just completed their seventh consecutive year of annual price growth. Meanwhile housebuilders and estate agents have witnessed a ‘V-shaped’ recovery from the record rates of decline in house completions and transactions.Continue reading
With the release of UK GDP data for December the curtain has been drawn on 2020 (or statistically speaking anyway). But the effects of a year that saw the economy contract by a record 10% will live with us for some time yet. At least there are hints in the data that improvement lies not too far away.Continue reading
The oft-repeated light at the end of the tunnel may just be glowing a little brighter. Falling infection rates coupled with the timely vaccine rollout, the impressive housing market bounceback and an optimistic forecast set by the Bank of England are all stock for the refreshment station of this long marathon. But this is not the only race we are running. A timely reminder last week came on the miles ahead to protect the natural world.Continue reading
Today sees the release of January data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – indicated that the Northern Ireland private sector moved deeper into contraction territory at the start of 2021 amid a further coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown. Meanwhile, inflationary pressures continued to strengthen, largely as a result of higher shipping costs.Continue reading
There’s no doubt the lockdown has taken a significant toll on the UK economy. Add to that Brexit effects are showing up in the form of higher costs and disruptions at the border. But the pace of vaccination remains very impressive, and with it confidence builds of a strong recovery. An outlook echoed by the IMF this past week.Continue reading
We have published the latest Ulster Economix Podcast.
New Year, new era. January has already heralded much change on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a new president in the White House with Joe Biden. In the UK, the Brexit transition period has ended and through the EU and UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement, signed last month, a new chapter in the UK-EU relations has begun. The UK-EU deal that has been secured is unique in that it is the only trade deal in history which creates and adds barriers to trade rather than remove them.
The local construction industry rebounded in the second half of last year and recovered much of the turnover lost due to lockdown restrictions. That’s according to the latest Construction Employers’ Federation State of Trade Survey for H2 2020. Two-thirds of turnover for last year occurred in H2. However, despite the rebound, average turnover was still down 20-25% on 2019.Continue reading