Export orders rise at record rate


Today sees the release of November data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. It signalled that the rate of expansion in activity at companies in Northern Ireland accelerated on the back of a return to growth of new business.

A record rise in new export orders was signalled as companies benefited from sterling weakness. On the other hand, the rate of input cost inflation quickened again and companies raised their output prices sharply.

The main findings of the November survey were as follows:

  • The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index registered above the 50.0 no-change mark for the second successive month.
  • Moreover, at 54.5, up from 51.9 in October, the index signalled a solid monthly expansion, and one that was the sharpest since March.
  • Retail posted the fastest rise of the four monitored sectors, while growth was also recorded in manufacturing and services.
  • On the other hand, construction activity continued to fall.
  • New orders rose sharply, ending a four-month sequence of decline. Growth of total new orders was supported by a record rise in new business from abroad.
  • Backlogs of work increased for the first time in seven months amid the sharp rise in new business. Employment rose for the twenty-second successive month, although the rate of job creation was marginal and the slowest since June 2015.
  • The rate of input cost inflation quickened to the fastest since May 2011 in November, with panellists indicating that the latest rise was principally due to sterling weakness.
  • A number of respondents signalled the passing on of higher input costs to clients. As a result, output prices increased sharply and at the strongest pace since August 2008.
  • Manufacturing selling prices rose to the greatest extent since the series began in January 2003.


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