NI PMI: New order growth picks up in July

July PMI Front.pngThe 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.

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Credit Crunch Cluedo – 10 years on

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.

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Northern Ireland’s television and online habits revealed by Ofcom

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.

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Chart of the Month – Northern Ireland Home Ownership by Age

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.

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Growth of construction activity in RoI remains elevated at end of Q2

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.

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‘Cost of Living Squeeze 2.0’ warning light flashing

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