Latest Ulster Bank business survey says Northern Irish businesses benefit from one of EU’s fastest growing economies ‘on doorstep’
Weak sterling means Northern Irish companies are benefiting from having “one of the fastest growing economies in Europe” on their doorstep, according to the Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
New exports contracts from North to South hit a three-month high last month, says the latest PMI report. It found that Northern Irish firms had to recruit more people to deal with increased number of orders from the Republic because of the reduced value of sterling.
Ulster Bank’s chief economist for Northern Ireland Richard Ramsey said it meant Northern Irish exporters are benefitting from “having one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, the Republic of Ireland, on its doorstep.
Throw a weak currency into the mix and the conditions are ideal for local firms selling into the Republic of Ireland/eurozone market.”
Meanwhile in the Republic, the rate of growth in construction activity in Ireland slowed last month to its lowest rate in almost 2ó years despite a spike in house building and increasing employment, according to the same Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Weak growth in commercial building, and a decline in civil engineering, put Ireland’s construction industry’s overall rate of growth is at its lowest level since March 2015.
Slowdown in growth
It was the third month in a row to record a slowdown in growth. Despite this slow commercial growth, employment in the sector continues to grow, as do the costs of doing business such as the costs of materials.
Ulster Bank’s chief economist for the Republic of Ireland Simon Barry said: “The overall story remains one of continuing construction sector expansion, (but) the latest PMI readings suggest that momentum behind the recovery has slipped a little – a trend that bears watching in the months ahead.”