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Downturn deep in Northern Ireland private sector

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Christian Fernsby |
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland   Brexit and associated market uncertainty were behind the latest fall

The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index fell to 44.1 in June from 46.0 in May.

The reading signalled a marked monthly reduction in output and one that was the strongest since November 2012.

Brexit and associated market uncertainty were behind the latest fall in activity, according to respondents.

The decline was the fourth in as many months, and the most pronounced of all 12 UK regions covered.

Steep declines were seen in construction, retail and manufacturing.

Brexit uncertainty was also reportedly the main factor behind a sharp decline in new orders.

New business decreased for the fifth successive month, and to the greatest extent in seven years.

New export orders also fared badly, falling at a considerable pace that was the steepest since August 2011.

Falling new orders fed through to a further reduction in backlogs of work.

Employment decreased for the sixth successive month in June.

That said, in contrast to a number of the other variables monitored by the survey, the rate of job shedding softened to the weakest in four months.

The rate of input cost inflation ticked up from May's 22-month low and was broadly in line with the series average.

Where input prices rose, panellists often linked this to higher staff costs.

The rate of output price inflation also quickened, but remained modest.

Business sentiment turned negative again in June, with companies pessimistic regarding the 12-month outlook for output for the fourth time in the past five months.

Concerns around Brexit were widely mentioned, with Northern Ireland registering by far the lowest sentiment of the 12 UK regions.


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