Ulster Bank PMI report for Sept 2023

Solid fall in business activity in September.

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Key Findings:

  • Ongoing reductions in output and new business
  • Employment continues to rise
  • Fuel costs and wages push up input prices

The Northern Ireland private sector remained in a downturn during September as output and new orders fell again. More positively, employment continued to increase, contrasting with the UK-wide trend. Input costs and output prices continued to rise, but at rates that were much weaker than seen over the past three years. The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index remained below the 50.0 no-change mark in September, ticking up to 45.9 from 45.7 in August. The solid monthly decline in output extended the current sequence of reduction to three months. Activity fell across each of the four broad sectors covered by the survey. According to respondents, waning customer demand was the main factor leading output to fall. This was also evident with regards to new orders, which decreased for the fourth month running. A shortage of new work to replace completed projects meant that firms were able to deplete backlogs of work again. Alongside Scotland, Northern Ireland was one of only two areas of the UK to increase employment in September. Firms reported efforts to expand capacity and the filling of previously vacant positions. Companies also remained optimistic about the 12-month outlook for activity, with sentiment improving slightly from the previous survey period. Firms hope for a pick-up in demand over the year ahead. Higher fuel costs and wages led to another marked increase in input prices during September. The rate of inflation was broadly in line with that seen in August. Meanwhile, output prices increased at a softer pace.


Please see the report in full:


Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI (PDF, 398KB)

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