Hurricane means hurricane… but what category will it be?

We are currently in Atlantic hurricane season, and with five major hurricanes to date, it looks like it will be the most active one in around seven years, as well as the costliest ever. With the Brexit vote and Trump, it could also be said that we are moving into a very unsettled economic and political weather system. Indeed, it is perhaps the stormiest forecast, economically and politically, the UK and US have faced since around 2010. Continue reading

Putting the economy first again

Brexit.pngThe tectonic plates of the established global trading system are moving. BRUMP – the Brexit vote and the Trump presidency – have created two fault lines – one in North America and the other in Europe.

2016 therefore looks to have been the peak for trade liberalisation. Moves to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and a European equivalent – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – have already been scuppered by the current US President. These initiatives, years in development, were cancelled with a stroke of a pen earlier this year. Meanwhile Trump’s administration is also seeking to dismantle the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA). Continue reading

Job creation slows as Brexterity beckons…

A raft of data emerged from the Department for the Economy today. The most significant release was the Quarterly Employee Survey (QES) for Q2 2017 -a comprehensive survey of the actual number of jobs in the economy.  This is more closely watched than the Labour Force Survey which looks at people working in some shape or form (paid, unpaid, self-employed, voluntary etc). Continue reading

Chief Economist’s Weekly Briefing – Charm offensive

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Prime Minister Theresa May was in the US for talks with President Trump last week. Securing the basis of the UK-US trading relationship is one of the UK’s biggest economic priorities after Brexit. But care is clearly needed after the US’s withdrawal from the TPP, demands to renegotiate NAFTA and threats of 20% tariffs on Mexico. Continue reading

Diverging economic picture set to continue in 2017

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Divergence has been a key theme of the Northern Ireland economy during recent years, with our economic performance consistently diverging from – i.e. falling further behind – the rest of the UK. But divergence has recently become more prominent in others areas too, including between the first and second half of 2016, the performance between sectors, within the labour market, and in terms of our domestic and export performance. And this is a theme that is set to become even more prominent in 2017. Continue reading

NI Composite Economic Index

The latest economic output statistics confirm that the Northern Ireland economy was growing strongly in Q2 ahead of the EU referendum result. The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index expanded at its fastest rate (+1.0% q/q) in almost three years in Q2 2016 and hit its highest level in over 6 years. However, this overall headline performance conceals divergence between the private and public sectors.  While the former remains in expansion mode the latter continues to reduce its headcount in the face of public spending pressures. Continue reading

Would hard Brexit mean a hard landing for agri-food?

The first hundred days is seen as a critical time in politics. Coined in a 1933 radio address by Franklin D Roosevelt, it is often used to measure the successes and accomplishments of a president during the time that their power and influence is at its greatest. Chief Executives of companies also view their first hundred days as a period in which their authority has to be asserted and their intentions known. Continue reading