Activity rises solidly, but new order growth eases to five-month low

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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

Surge in NI exports, but private sector only sees marginal growth

Today sees the release of October data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – signalled that business activity returned to growth, although the rate of expansion was modest as total new orders were largely unchanged in spite of a substantial increase in exports. Export orders were supported by the weakness of sterling, but this also had the effect of pushing up input costs which rose substantially. Continue reading

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

Output and new orders stagnated during September

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Today sees the release of September data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – indicated that output and new orders stagnated amid a reluctance among customers to commit to spending. That said, companies continued to increase staffing levels. Meanwhile, the rate of input cost inflation remained sharp and output prices rose solidly again. Continue reading