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

Economic Gongs: Best and worst performers in an ongoing drama

It had everything. There was intrigue, espionage, breakups, non-stop drama, and no end of fiction and fantasy. But whether you regard last year as the prelude to an economic horror, or something from an altogether more uplifting genre, what is clear is that 2016 was an epic, with significant implications for the local, national, and global economies. So with the annual Academy Awards having just been handed out, we’ve decided to suggest some potential winners of a hypothetical Economic Gongs. Here are the economies, personalities and organisations we think should be in contention for a range of bespoke categories.

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Petrol Head Index

petrol-heads-index-ub(1)

It probably hasn’t been a great year for Jeremy Clarkson. But can the same be said for petrol heads as a whole? Whilst consumers in general have been benefiting from falling food, clothing and energy prices, what has been happening to fuel, car, and auto part costs? With the hotly anticipated new series of Top Gear set to get underway, I thought it would be worth taking a peak under the bonnet.

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Chart of the Month: Sterling job in a crisis

Chart showing the Sterling / Dollar Exchange Rate between 1975 and 2015

Last week was the largest weekly fall in sterling in seven years. Sterling has been this year’s worst performing major currency against the dollar. The pound dipped below $1.40 for the first time since 2009 and hit a low of $1.3836. So far this year sterling has fallen by over 6% against the dollar and is down almost 13% relative to its high last June ($1.593). A number of factors have been weighing on sterling sentiment in recent weeks.  These include: market concerns over the scale of the UK’s current account deficit and financial markets pushing back their expectations of when the Bank of England will begin hiking interest rates. Meanwhile the forthcoming EU referendum on the 23rd June is also a source of political risk and financial market volatility.

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Retailers may well have come out of the red on Black Friday

For seasoned investors, the term ‘Black Monday’ is a reminder of the global stock market crash that occurred on 19 October 1987. Meanwhile the Wall Street Crash (29th October 1929) was also known as ‘Black Tuesday’. This was when panic selling reached its peak and followed steep share price falls on the previous day, ‘Black Monday’, and on the 24th October 1929, ‘Black Thursday’. The third day of the week hasn’t escaped the prefix ‘Black’ either, with the 16th September 1992 dubbed ‘Black Wednesday’ in the UK. This was when currency market speculators forced the UK to remove sterling from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).

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