The UK economy almost came to a halt in Q4 last year as mounting Brexit concerns took its toll on business investment. However, consumer spending maintains its gradual recovery, driven by higher real incomes.
The public finances, ‘the deficit’, and the extent to which Northern Ireland is dependent on public spending have been much explored and discussed topics over the past 11 years since the Credit Crunch. We have also had access to a wide range of data on the state of the business sector, from the range of surveys by business bodies and others right down to individual filings by businesses at Companies House. But despite consumer spending accounting for two-thirds of GVA (gross value added – i.e. Northern Ireland’s total income), there has perhaps been relatively less discussion on the finances of the Northern Ireland consumer, in part due to an absence of relevant insight on the topic.
UK retail sales fell in the first three months of the year, the first quarterly fall since 2013. With rising prices squeezing their incomes, it looks as if consumers have decided to tighten their belts. 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.
Markets are betting the US Fed will raise rates next week but strong jobs and confidence data are somewhat at odds with growth that is far from spectacular.