Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Something new

The UK economy may be on the cusp of receiving two new little growth boosts. Firstly, the Chancellor signalled an adjustment in fiscal policy to free up cash for investment. Second, the recent fall in sterling may do what the crisis-driven fall in sterling couldn’t: help generate a sustained export improvement. Both would certainly be welcome. Continue reading

Business activity rises at fastest pace for a year-and-a-half

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 the Northern Ireland private sector ended the first quarter of 2016 on a high, with growth of both output and new orders accelerating.

PMI March 2016 findings:

  • The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index rose to 56.4 in March from 54.9 in February
  • The rate of expansion in Northern Ireland was in excess of the UK average
  • Service providers recorded a sharp increase in activity, and the strongest since July 2014.
  • Growth was also seen at construction and retail companies, while manufacturing output stabilised following a fall in February
  • Employment also continued to increase at a solid pace
  • The rate of input cost inflation eased, while output prices were broadly unchanged
  • New orders also increased at a faster pace in March, the rate of growth quickening to an 18-month high
  • New export orders also increased
  • Northern Ireland companies increased staffing levels in March, for the 14th month in a row
  • Backlogs of work rose for the fifth successive month, and at a faster pace than in February
  • Although input prices continued to increase during March, the rate of inflation eased to the slowest since last November
  • The construction sector posted the fastest rise in input prices of the four monitored sectors
  • Northern Ireland companies left their output prices broadly unchanged

PMI March 2016 infographic:


Download the PMI Report (March 2016)

Listen to Richard Ramsey talking about the latest PMI

You can also click to view the Ulster Bank Construction PMI Report (ROI).

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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PMI: Growth of new work at nine-month high

Graphic showing that the Ulster Bank NI PMI has seen growth in new business at a 9-month high in June

Today sees the release of June data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – indicated that output growth was maintained as new orders rose at an accelerated rate. Increased new business led to a build-up of outstanding work, but the rate of job creation eased. Meanwhile, cost inflation moderated and companies raised their output prices for the first time in ten months.

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NI’s strong economic links with the US

Image showing NI's economic links with the US in terms of exports, visitors, businesses and employees

Northern Ireland has very strong economic links with the US, when we look at a range of indicators, including visitors to NI, manufacturing exports, the number of US businesses operating in Northern Ireland and the number of local people American firms employ.

With it being around 4th July time, this graphic gives a snapshot of those strong economic links.

For further context, it is also worth noting, for instance, that US visitors spent nearly £55million in NI in 2014, which works out on average at nearly £300 per visitor, compared to £220 per English visitor, and around £200 per German visitor.

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