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PwC predicts Northern Ireland to have lowest growth among UK regions

Staff Writer |
The Northern Ireland economy will have the lowest growth amongst UK regions in 2017 and 2018, the consultancy PwC has forecast.

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Northern Ireland is expected to lag behind somewhat with growth of around 1.2 percent this year, the PwC said in a report.

In 2018, Northern Ireland may again lag behind the rest of the UK with growth of just under 1 percent, it said.

The forecast slowdown in Northern Ireland this year and next is attributable to a downturn in business investment driven by continued uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations, the PwC said.

David Armstrong, PwC partner in Northern Ireland, said he expects a softening of jobs growth and a squeeze on real household spending power from rising inflation, which could reach around 3 percent in 2018.

"But somewhat stronger net exports, helped by the weaker pound, should dampen the scale of the fall in overall GDP growth this year," Armstrong said.

"Considerable uncertainties remain around any medium-term economic conditions however, so Northern Ireland businesses should stress test their business and investment plans against alternative economic scenarios and also review the potential wider implications of Brexit for all aspects of their business," he said.

"The welcome news is that Northern Ireland and the UK in general look set to avoid recession, but a combination of the current political situation, uncertainty over the region's budgetary position and a lack of clarity around a post-Brexit border, may influence investment decisions," he added.

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