The latest Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI is out today. It indicates that solid growth of new orders fed through to a further increase in business activity in July. There were reports of success in securing new work from the Republic of Ireland amid sterling weakness, helping to boost total new business. Job creation was sustained, albeit at a more moderate pace, while inflationary pressures continued to ease.
Ten years ago today heralded the start of the ‘credit crunch’. The term which was unfamiliar to most people entered dictionaries in 2008. A credit crunch refers to the sudden reduction in the availability of credit or a sudden tightening in the conditions to obtain credit. In short, the availability of credit decreased sharply and the cost of credit increased significantly. In turn, this morphed into the global financial crisis or GFC and was accompanied by a global downturn. The rest they say is history. A decade has passed and hundreds of books have been written about the credit crunch and the global financial crisis that followed.
Ofcom has revealed Northern Ireland’s television and online habits in their latest Communications Market Report. The report, released on 3rd August 2017, provides an overview of communications services across Northern Ireland and monitors key trends in the availability and take-up of digital services across the United Kingdom.
Research was undertaken and included a face-to-face survey of 3,743 respondents aged 16+ in the UK, with 493 interviews being conducted in Northern Ireland across a range of ages, socio-economic groups, geographic locations and gender.
The summer’s weather has been, by and large, a mixture of sunshine and showers. The economic weather has been similar, with the number of ‘positive’ economic results generally matching the number of ‘negative’ ones. In this climate it’s often best to wait and see, which is exactly what the MPC opted to do last week.
Around 10 years ago, the housing market was undoubtedly Northern Ireland’s big economic story. Today, it is much further from the headlines but beneath the surface there has been a very significant economic tale unfolding.
10 years ago Northern Ireland’s housing boom was turning to bust. Back then the focus was on residential property price falls and the collapse in house building. Another less closely watched indicator, rates of home ownership, also plummeted. This trend was accompanied by a corresponding boom in the private rented sector which has more than doubled between 2006-2016.
Despite yet another strong set of job numbers there are still no signs of life in the UK wage growth figures. In response consumers are saving less and borrowing more. That’s not a sustainable solution.
Hope fades that the UK economy managed to step up a gear in Q2. Most estimates now suggest quarterly UK GDP growth was 0.3% in the three months to June, barely an improvement on Q1’s disappointing 0.2%. Continue reading
Irish construction firms posted a further strong rise in business activity during June. This was despite an easing in the pace of growth, which mirrored a slowdown in the rate of expansion in new orders.
Employment continued to increase at a substantial pace, while business sentiment improved to a ten month high. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – dropped to 58.2 in June from 63.6 in May, posting a sharp monthly rise in activity, albeit the weakest in four months. Total activity has now expanded in each of the past 46 months. Panellists reported improving demand, with the housing and commercial sectors highlighted as areas of growth.
For almost 5 years, during the period late-2009 to mid-2014, UK consumers experienced an intense squeeze on their disposable incomes. Consumer price inflation outpaced wage growth over this period which became known as the “cost of living crisis”. Fast forward three years and once again pay growth is lagging behind inflation. We are now in what could be dubbed the ‘Cost of Living Squeeze 2.0’. Whilst it is not expected to be as severe or last as long as its predecessor, the second iteration of the cost of living squeeze will hit consumer spending and those sectors sensitive to it. Continue reading