Business recovery gains momentum

Belfast Harbour
Belfast Harbour

Recovery in the Northern Ireland private sector gathered momentum at the start of the year as growth of new business reached a survey-record high.

According to the report Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI produced for Ulster Bank by Markit the improvement in the private sector has contributed to faster rises in output and employment. On the price front, both input costs and output prices rose at similar rates to those seen at the end of 2013.

Commenting on the latest survey findings, Richard Ramsey, Chief Economist Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank, said: “The Northern Ireland economy has started 2014 the way it ended 2013 with the broad-based recovery continuing to gather momentum.

“In recent months, the Ulster Bank PMI reports have been peppered with survey highs.

“January’s report continues this theme and signals that rather than slowing down, the pace of economic recovery is in fact accelerating. All sectors of the economy reported record highs of some form or another across a range of performance indicators.

“Last month local firms posted a marked acceleration in the rate of growth in business activity.

“Indeed, firms reported their fastest rate of growth in almost 10 years with January’s growth rate exceeded on only one other occasion since the survey began.

“Furthermore, the pace of growth recorded by Northern Ireland’s private sector exceeded their counterparts in the equivalent UK survey for the first time since October 2007.

“Whilst all sectors reported strong rates of growth, the acceleration was largely due to improved performance by the services and manufacturing sectors. Indeed, the latter posted its second fastest growth rate in the survey’s history.”