Northern Ireland private sector growing but losing momentum

Posted by On 10:24 AM

Northern Ireland private sector growing but losing momentum

Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland private sector growing but losing momentum

Ulster Bank
Image caption The Ulster Bank surveys private sector activity monthly

The Northern Ireland private sector is continuing to grow but appears to be losing momentum, Ulster Bank data has suggested.

The bank surveys private sector activity monthly, in what is considered a reliable indicator of the economy.

The September survey saw overall business activity expand at its weakest rate in almost two years.

This is the second month in a row where the rate of expansion has slowed.

The bank's chief economist, Richard Ramsey, said that when looking at the third quarter of the year as whole the deceleration looks "modest".

'Least optimistic in UK'

However, he added that "the July to September period still marks the slowest quarterly rate of private sector growth that Northern Ireland has seen in five quarters".

All broad sectors of the economy experienced a slowdown in September in terms of business activity, orders and job creation.

However, all sectors are still in growth mode and manufacturing is still outperforming relative to its long-term average.

Mr Ramsey said the ongoing uncertainty over post-Brexit trading arrangements appeared to be acting a damper on business confidence:

"Northern Ireland firms are now the least optimistic in the UK, and their most pessimistic since this indicator began 19-months ago, with Brexit a major concern for respondents."

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