We are now in the midst of a record-breaking period for the global economy – but for all the wrong reasons. With data now available for April – the first full month lockdown restrictions were in force in most major western nations – most indicators make for depressing reading.Continue reading
Another decade, another recession … but this one’s different
When US Presidents, UK Prime Ministers and other leaders in politics and business take charge, the first 100 days of their leadership is always seen as critical. Last Thursday marked 100 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the start of January. The scale of the change, political intervention and business disruption that we have seen since then has been truly unprecedented. And what happens in the next 100 days will likely be just as alarming and unprecedented. Indeed, the word unprecedented is now so overused that it no longer does justice to just how rare and extreme events have been.Continue reading
The Big Economic Quiz of the Year
What were the economic highlights and lowlights of 2018? What will be good, bad and ugly in 2019? Who will be next year’s economic villain? What word would you use to sum up what you expect to see in the next 12 months? These and many other questions about the Northern Ireland and global economies are asked and discussed in our new podcast, which we’ve boldly called the Big Economic Quiz of the Year.
And fittingly, we have some big fish from the local economics community contributing. Angela McGowan, Director of the CBI in Northern Ireland and Richard Johnston, Deputy Director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre join our own Richard Ramsey and business journalist Jamie Delargy to review, predict and ruminate.
Silicon Gullion moves into premier league despite retail woes
Ask the man or woman on the street to describe any sector of the economy and the services sector is probably the one that they will struggle with most, despite it being our largest and arguably most important.
Private sector flat or expanding?
Robust growth, according to PMI – The last few days has seen a flurry of surveys released on the health of the Northern Ireland economy. Ulster Bank’s PMI pointed to robust growth across the private sector in Q4 2017. The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for the same period was not quite as positive as the PMI. Nevertheless, both manufacturing and services firms reported growth in the final quarter of 2017. Overall, the performance was more encouraging for the manufacturing sector than for services firms. Continue reading
2017 a positive year but dogs on street know there are challenges ahead
Overall, 2017 has probably been a more positive year for the Northern Ireland economy than many would have expected. A wide range of indicators have improved during the 12 months, including private sector employment (now at a record high), construction activity, and both tourism and trade. However, many other indicators have been on the decline, and there are also some clear warning signs that the economy will begin to slow down in 2018. Here is a flavour of some of the key trends we have seen this year, and which will set the context for moving into the 12 months ahead. Continue reading
Sharpest rise in output so far in 2017
Today sees the release of April data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – signalled the strongest rise in business activity of the year-to-date, while new orders continued to increase solidly and companies were optimistic of further output growth over the coming year. Meanwhile, the rate of job creation accelerated. On the price front, both input costs and output charges continued to rise sharply. Continue reading
March 2017 Ulster Bank PMI slidepack
The latest PMI highlights many noteworthy trends on the local, national and global economy from March 2017. This slide pack explores them in more detail. Continue reading
Activity rises solidly, but new order growth eases to five-month low
Today sees the release of March data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – indicated that a solid rise in business activity ended a positive first quarter of the year. Further increases were also seen in new orders and employment. Meanwhile, rates of inflation remained elevated as a result of sterling weakness. Continue reading
Output growth eases again in February, but remains solid
Today sees the release of February data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – signalled further solid growth of output during February, despite the rate of expansion easing further from the high seen at the end of last year. Both new orders and employment rose at sharper rates, with growth of each broadly in line with the UK average. Meanwhile, inflation of both input costs and output prices remained elevated. Continue reading