Northern Ireland economy 'declined in month after Brexit', Ulster Bank says

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Business Correspondent

Image caption,
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said people should not 'read too much into one month's survey'

Northern Ireland's economy declined in the month after the UK voted to leave the EU, according to new data.

A drop in output - the first locally in 15 months - is not considered surprising.

Last week, a similar report showed businesses in the UK as a whole had suffered in July.

The Ulster Bank, who released the figures, said there is "some comfort" in that Northern Ireland fared better than the UK average.

The bank looks at the business activity of private sector firms every month, in what is considered a reliable indicator of the economy.

The latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) suggests that both output and new orders experienced declines in July when compared to June.

Image source, Thinkstock
Image caption,
The UK voted to leave the European Union in June

However, it also showed employment increased and some companies were able to win greater export business due to the weakness of the pound.

The bank's chief economist, Richard Ramsey, said: "Overall the latest PMI is no doubt concerning for the Northern Ireland economy.

"But we shouldn't read too much into one month's survey.

"The data flow in the coming months will give a clearer picture of the broader trajectory of the local economy."