Growth of business activity remains solid, but inflationary pressures intensify

Today sees the release of January data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – pointed to a positive start to 2017, with further increases in output, new orders and employment recorded. That said, rates ofexpansion eased from the end of last year. Meanwhile, price pressures continued to intensify, with rates of inflation for both input costs and output prices among the sharpest in the survey’s history.

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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

10 key questions the EU Referendum result raises for Northern Ireland

So, the UK has voted to leave the EU. But what does that actually mean? For now, it means no change, as David Cameron signalled today that his successor decides whether to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Only when this happens does the clock start to tick on two years of negotiation for the UK’s exit from the EU. In the meantime, we have seen heavy falls in UK equities, sterling has slumped, and we can anticipate further short-term volatility. But what are the key questions emerging from the Referendum results from a NI perspective? Continue reading

Economic Gongs: Best actors in an increasingly unpopular drama

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There is an increasingly unpopular drama unfolding in the global economy. It’s not quite the epic of 2007/8. But it certainly has economists and investors gripped, as we have witnessed the Big Short on oil prices and a Revenant-style bear market that has mauled the share prices of the stock markets’ biggest stars. Continue reading

NI business output growth at 16-month high

Infographic for the Ulster Bank NI PMI January 2016

Today sees the release of January data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – pointed to faster rates of growth for output, new orders and employment in the Northern Ireland private sector, with activity increasing at the sharpest pace since September 2014. Meanwhile, the rate of cost inflation remained marked but firms were only able to increase their output prices at a marginal pace.

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Stormont to raise rates before Bank of England

 

2015 will go down in the economic annals as a good year for the Northern Ireland consumer. Falling food and energy prices, coupled with a return of pay rises, have boosted disposable incomes. At the same time, employment growth has continued, with over 90 percent of the jobs that were lost during the downturn having now been recovered.

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Fastest rise in employment for 14 months

Graphic showing comparisons between the latest figures from the Northern Ireland PMI and pre=Credit Crunch averages

The latest Ulster Bank NI PMI has been released.

For those who don’t know, the PMI is a monthly survey of carefully selected companies. It provides an advance indication of what is happening in the private sector economy by tracking variables such as output, new orders, employment and prices.

Here are the main points:

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NI economy not as weak as figures suggest

Today’s official figures suggest that the Northern Ireland economy stagnated in the second quarter with the private sector reporting marginal growth.

Meanwhile public sector job losses pushed the overall economy into a slight contraction.

However, while the local economy does face significant challenges, the current position is not as weak as today’s headlines suggest.

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