Posted on Friday 7 September 2018 by John Mulgrew

Richard Ramsey

Northern Ireland business confidence and job creation has seen an uplift while overall private sector stalled growth stalled, according to survey.

The latest Ulster Bank purchasing managers’ index says that while there was expansion, August data signalled a "loss of growth momentum in the Northern Ireland".

"The increase in output in Northern Ireland was also slower than the UK average," it said.

"All four monitored sectors saw activity rise, although manufacturing was the only one to record a faster rate of expansion than in July."

Ulster Bank chief economist, Richard Ramsey, said “we’ve perhaps never seen a year when the weather has played such a big role in the Northern Ireland economy".

"In the early part of 2018, the ‘Beast from the East’ disrupted business activity, therefore impacting on output. More recently, the incredibly good weather has been cited as a major factor behind faster rates of growth in the private sector during June and July.

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the milder weather, August saw something of a slowdown.

"Output and new orders growth both eased to a four-month low in August, whilst export orders saw the weakest rate in 10 months, albeit that it was the 26th successive month of growth.

"Employment fared slightly better, with a modest pick-up in growth from July’s 12-month low. Meanwhile, inflationary pressures eased, according to local firms, but it is worth noting that they remain more marked in Northern Ireland than in any other UK region.

"The August slowdown was evident across the retail, services and construction sectors. While they were all still growing, the uplift in output and their order books slowed significantly.

"On the other hand, manufacturing saw almost every indicator improve. In particular, the notable growth in new orders bodes well for the months ahead.

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