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New orders in Northern Ireland rise at fastest pace in year-to-date

Staff Writer |
The Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit signalled a further sharp increase in new orders at Northern Ireland companies, supporting the fastest rise in business activity in the year-to-date.

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The rate of job creation also accelerated.

On the price front, companies faced a sharper rise in input costs, while the rate of output price inflation eased slightly. Commenting on the latest survey findings, Richard Ramsey, Chief Economist Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank, said: "The Northern Ireland private sector continued to defy political and economic uncertainty in September, seeing further marked increases in output and new orders that were both the fastest in 2017 so far.

Local firms are also faring better than their counterparts across the UK as a whole at present, with the acceleration in growth contrasting with signs of a slowdown at the UK level.

"Part of the improvement in new business was reflective of continued growth of new export orders.

Sterling weakness continues to act as a tailwind for exports, helping firms to secure new work in the Republic of Ireland in particular.

The strength of demand across the border and in the euro area in general is also a factor helping new business from outside the local market to increase.

"A key highlight from the latest survey findings was the sharpest rise in employment since mid-2014.

This suggests some level of confidence among firms that external factors won’t negatively impact demand too much in the nearterm at least.

This is supported by data on business confidence which rose to a four-month high in September.

"Sector data offered some solace for local retailers, pointing to a rebound in growth following signs of stagnation during the summer.

Services remained a strong performer, and registered the fastest pace of job creation for over a decade.

Manufacturing growth remained solid while construction remained the main area of concern, although even here there was some positive news as new orders increased for the first time in seven months".


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