NI Economy: The key facts

ni economy.pngWe’ve all heard the oft-used phrase ‘the economy is the number one priority’. However, there is perhaps still a deficit in terms of public understanding of economic issues.  People perhaps don’t realise how far Northern Ireland lags the rest of the UK in terms of GVA (and the gap has been widening) or how much more Northern Ireland receives in public spending. Continue reading

SUVs get the Toblerone treatment

lexus-1938299_1280.jpgWe’ve heard of the Crane Count, the Cappuccino Index, and even the Big Mac Index – each an alternative means of examining and predicting trends in the economy. But analysing the local carpark is perhaps an even more insightful way of understanding the various forces impacting on consumers, companies and economies, from geopolitics to the price of a barrel of oil and movements in the exchange rate. In many respects, the car park is a microcosm of the economy, and having a look at what people use to get themselves from A to B can tell us more than economists’ spreadsheets and even Bank of England briefings. Continue reading

Support amongst 3rd sector leaders for charity shop rating proposals

The Ulster Bank & CO3 3rd Sector Index for Q4 2016 is released today.

It is a barometer of Northern Ireland’s third sector, involving a quarterly survey of CO3 members who include the leaders of some of Northern Ireland’s largest charities and social enterprises through to small community groups. Continue reading

Surge in NI exports, but private sector only sees marginal growth

Today sees the release of October data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – signalled that business activity returned to growth, although the rate of expansion was modest as total new orders were largely unchanged in spite of a substantial increase in exports. Export orders were supported by the weakness of sterling, but this also had the effect of pushing up input costs which rose substantially. Continue reading

Output declines for first time in 15 months

Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI infographic July 2016

Today sees the release of July data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – signalled that the month following the UK’s vote to leave the EU saw declines in output and new orders in Northern Ireland. The weakness of sterling following the referendum also led to a sharp acceleration of cost inflation. On a more positive note, employment continued to increase and companies were able to secure greater new export business. Continue reading

Demand for 3rd sector services rises despite funding pressures

Infographic about the Ulster Bank and CO3 3rd Sector Index Q2 2016

The latest Ulster Bank & CO3 3rd Sector Index is released this morning. It is a survey of leaders of bodies such as social enterprises, charities, and community organisations.

Amongst its key findings are that:

  • Almost one-third (29 percent) experienced a further decline in government funding
  • A further 59 percent said that they experienced no change, which equates to a real-terms decline.
  • One-in-four said their organisation is vulnerable to cash-flow issues
  • 65 percent saw demand for their services increase
  • 23 percent say their organisation increased headcount

Continue reading

Output growth eases to nine-month low

pmi-may-2016 short

Today sees the release of May data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI . The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – pointed to the economy remaining in growth territory, although the rate of expansion in business activity slowed for the second month running as new orders were broadly unchanged. Employment also increased at a weaker pace during the month.

Continue reading