Business Activity Index in Northern Ireland up
Christian Fernsby ▼ |
The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index in Northern Ireland posted 46.8 in January, up from 44.2 in December but still below the 50.0 no change mark.
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Topics: NORTHERN IRELAND
The fall in output signalled by the index was the softest since March 2019.
Brexit and associated uncertainty continued to impact negatively on activity albeit to a lesser extent following the result of the general election.
New orders fell only fractionally in January, with the pace of reduction slowing sharply from that seen in December.
The broad stabilisation in new business reflected a return to growth in the service sector and softer declines in manufacturing, construction and retail.
Although total new business was broadly stable, new export orders continued to fall at a marked pace amid Brexit uncertainty.
Northern Ireland companies raised employment for the second month running.
Greater workforce numbers meant that companies continued to work through backlogs of work at a rapid pace at the start of the year.
In fact, the rate of depletion of outstanding business was faster than that seen in December.
Input prices increased at the fastest pace in four months during January, with higher costs for fuel and staff most widely mentioned by respondents.
Companies responded to higher cost burdens by raising their output prices.
The increase followed a first decline in over four years in December.
Business confidence continued to climb in January and was the highest since April 2018.
Anecdotal evidence suggested that the re-establishment of the government at Stormont was the main reason for optimism, while predictions of rising new orders were also mentioned. ■
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