Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland economy 'recovering slowly'

bank notes

The Northern Ireland economy is recovering from the recession more slowly than previously thought, a report by the Northern Bank suggests.

The bank's latest quarterly report said the economy is now expected to grow by 1% by the end of the year.

This is a downward revision of 0.3% from its report in March.

The report said that normal economic growth may not resume for some time, not reaching pre-recession levels until the second half of 2012.

It said forecasts for 2011 show the economy is expected to grow by 1.9%.

The bank's chief economist Angela McGowan said weak consumer demand and high levels of government debt would make any recovery a very gradual process.

She also highlighted lack of consumer confidence, the fragility of the eurozone, combined with impending cuts in public sector spending, and Northern Ireland's limited local export base.

"The downward revision to Northern Ireland's economic growth prospects is disappointing," Ms McGowan said.

"But the second quarter of this year has been a turbulent one, both from a UK political perspective and from a European economic standpoint.

"The state of the UK's public finances has left households and businesses uncertain about their future financial positions.

"That sort of uncertainty has a knock-on effect on consumer spending and overall demand."

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