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Pace of North's growth picks up in July

Monday, August 11 10:46:42

The pace of the North's economic recovery picked up in July with growth of both activity and new business, especially all-Ireland trade, the latest Ulster Bank NI PMI showed today.

Meanwhile, the rate of cost inflation quickened for the second month in a row, but output prices again rose only slightly.

Commenting on the latest survey findings, Richard Ramsey, Chief Economist Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank, said that the Northern Ireland private sector started the second half of 2014 in the same vein as it ended the first, seeing strong growth in activity and new business.

"Moreover, the recent elevated rates of expansion were maintained in July as respondents highlighted the beneficial impacts of strong growth across the UK as a whole. Panellists also reported that Northern Ireland continues to benefit from improving economic conditions in the Republic of Ireland, its largest export market. Highlighting this, new export orders rose solidly during July," he said.

"The construction sector was again the star performer in terms of growth momentum, although the current period of expansion has been broad-based across the economy with manufacturers and service providers each posting faster increases in output in the latest survey period. In relation to the construction sector, the strong growth in output does not necessarily relate to work being done in Northern Ireland, as many local construction companies have been expanding their workloads elsewhere, particularly GB."

"Positive news emanated from the labour market again in July, with employment now having risen in 13 successive months. The rate of job creation has eased off somewhat through the summer, but the continuing strong rates of growth in new work and further rises in backlogs should mean that firms will keep on adding to their staffing levels in the near-term at least."

"The rate of cost inflation picked up in July, with each of the four monitored sectors seeing faster rises in input prices than in June. However, output prices have failed to follow suit, suggesting profit margins are being squeezed. Some survey respondents reported the need to use discounts in order to remain competitive, highlighting that while strong monthly growth continues, the economic recovery still has a long way to run," said Mr Ramsey.

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