Whether it’s booming car sales or rising job satisfaction the data says the UK is in a good place. Or maybe that’s the after effects of a sunny weekend…
Service charge. Nine months on from the EU referendum result, the UK’s service sector hasn’t lost its mojo. According to the March PMI the sector notched up its fastest rate of growth for the year with an overall score of 55, up from February’s 53.3. Firms remain very optimistic for the future but inflationary pressures remain a concern. Input cost inflation eased last month relative to February’s near 8-1/2 year peak but still remain high. Passing these costs on to customers through higher charges remains a priority, sharpening the focus on this week’s inflation data. Continue reading
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
March a 10-year high for NI new car sales
March was a record month for new car sales in the UK and a 10-year high in Northern Ireland. There were 8,556 new cars sold locally last month, just over 1,000 fewer (11%) than the pre-recession peak of 9,564 in March 2006. The near 10% y/y rise in local new car sales last month compared favourably with a UK increase of 8.5%. However, Northern Ireland’s sales figures are coming off a lower base and follow declines recorded in earlier months. Continue reading
Triggering Article 50 was the starting pistol for the real Brexit negotiations, now the real work begins.
Northern Ireland’s tourism industry has been breaking records across a range of performance indicators in recent years. 2016 witnessed a hotel room boom and this trend looks set to continue in 2017. Last year the local hotelier industry breached the 2 million mark for room sales for the first time.
Sterling is down 12% since the referendum and some effects of its decline are becoming apparent.
Pipeline pressures. Sterling’s weakness has fuelled import cost inflation. Manufacturers’ raw material costs rose by 19% y/y in February and firms have been passing some of these costs on to customers. Back in June factory gate prices were falling on an annual basis. Subsequently, output price growth has accelerated in every single month. Last month they were up 3.7% y/y the largest increase since December 2011. Price rises were evident across all product categories from food to fuel. Consumers have been warned. Further price rises are coming. Continue reading
We’re still well off letter-writing territory, but inflation saw a significant jump from 1.8% year-on-year in January to 2.3% last month. This is the highest rate of inflation since September 2013 and marks the arrival of the consumer price rises that the Ulster Bank NI PMI has been flagging for some months. The main driver is the acceleration in the price of consumer goods – everything from new cars to newspapers – where inflation was virtually non-existent just four months ago. Continue reading
Records are being set by the UK labour market, but the differences between regions remain strong. Continue reading
The latest PMI highlights many noteworthy trends on the local, national and global economies from February 2017. This slide pack explores them in more detail. Continue reading
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first and last Spring Budget was a modest affair and a perfect advert for holding just one fiscal event each year.