Big Economic Review of the Year 2019

Each December, we try to bring together some of the greatest minds in business and economics to review the year just past.

Unfortunately they’re never available. However, whilst you’re stuck with me, Richard Ramsey, we have been able to enlist the fantastic Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, and the incomparable Richard Johnston of Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre to consider the good, the bad and the ugly of the NI, UK and global economies in 2019 and to speculate about who might be the economic villains of 2020.

We got together in Ulster Bank headquarters in Belfast earlier this week and covered a lot of ground… Have a listen and hopefully you find it useful and interesting.

Watch the podcast:

On-the-go? Prefer to listen to the review on SoundCloud?

Bye for now and have a great Christmas and New Year!

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.

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Sharp rise in private sector activity at start of 2018

Employment

The Ulster Bank NI PMI for January 2018 is out today. It shows a pick-up in growth momentum in the Northern Ireland private sector. Business activity rose at the fastest pace since December 2016 . A sharper increase in input costs was also recorded, however, and companies continued to raise their prices at a marked pace. Continue reading

Sharp rise in new orders supports further growth of activity

PMI-1Today sees the release of October data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – indicated that the private sector remained firmly in growth territory, despite rates of expansion in output and new orders easing from the previous month. Firms continued to take on extra staff at a solid pace. Meanwhile, input costs rose sharply again and the rate of output price inflation quickened. Continue reading

Output growth eases again in February, but remains solid

pmi header

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

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

Podcast – latest labour market and output figures

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A raft of economic data was released today covering the labour market as well output figures. The figures are broadly positive – not least the fact that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has fallen.

However, there are a number of challenges – notably the fact that the number of people claiming other benefits is actually rising by as much as the number of people claiming unemployment benefit is falling. Listen to our podcasts to hear more.

Labour market figures

 

Output figures

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