1. ITV Report

Northern Ireland’s business activity sees biggest fall since 2012

Northern Ireland’s economy appears to have fallen into further decline according to the latest research by the Ulster Bank. The report produced for the Bank by HIS Markit, signalled that business activity, new orders and employment fell to the greatest extents since the final quarter of 2012.

Brexit and a lack of government at Stormont appear to be impacting on operations.

Commenting on the latest findings, Richard Ramsey, Chief Economist NI with the Ulster Bank said:

“ April saw an improvement in business conditions across most of the UK regions. However, Northern Ireland was a notable exception to this trend. Indeed, rather than improving, the pace of contraction across a range of indicators accelerated. As a result, Northern Ireland found itself at the bottom of the UK regional rankings for these measures.”

"As in March, manufacturing remained the only sector to record an expansion in output. Renewed weakness was evident within services, retail and construction. All three of these sectors signalled a significant decline in activity in April.”

“Overall,aspects of Northern Ireland's private sector growth were flattered by the levels of stockpiling taking place in the run up to the anticipated Brexit date. Similarly, as stockpiling has eased off, this is perhaps having the opposite effect.”