Northern Ireland

Weak pound 'offers significant unexpected boost' says Ulster Bank

Richard Ramsey
Image caption Ulster Bank's chief economist, Richard Ramsey, said Northern Ireland's manufacturing industry continued to struggle

A weak pound has provided "a significant and unexpected" boost to some Northern Ireland businesses, according to Ulster Bank.

Sterling's value has dropped due to uncertainty over the UK's future in the European Union.

Export orders have risen at their fastest rate in 20 months, with sales into the Eurozone providing a better return than last year.

The findings are contained in an analysis of local firms in March.

This was when businesses continued to experience "a very strong start to the year."

Retailers in border areas report having more southern shoppers, with a stronger euro giving them better value on visits to Northern Ireland.

The bank surveys firms across different sectors on a monthly basis, monitoring things like new orders, employment and exports to give an overview of the economy.

But some sectors are performing better than others.

"Manufacturing continues to struggle," said Ulster Bank's chief economist Richard Ramsey.

"It continues to report job losses, the only sector to do so, with March representing the seventh successive month of employment declines."

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