Northern Ireland

Ulster Bank: Weak sterling continues to boost exports

Ulster Bank in Belfast
Image caption The Ulster Bank surveys the activity of private sector firms every month, in what is considered a reliable indicator of the economy

Northern Ireland exporters are continuing to experience a surge in business as a result of the weakening of sterling, the Ulster Bank has said.

A bank survey suggests that in November new export orders rose at a record rate.

A weaker pound makes UK-produced goods cheaper in overseas markets.

The pound fell sharply against the euro after the Brexit vote and is still well below pre-referendum levels.

'Price rises'

The bank's chief economist, Richard Ramsey, said cross-border shopping has also benefited, sending retail sales to their highest level in more than two years.

"Both the manufacturing and retail sectors are expanding at rates well above their pre-downturn historical averages," he added.

Recent official figures also point to export growth - HM Revenue and Customs data for the 12 months to September shows a 6% rise in the value of exports to £7.4bn.

However, Mr Ramsey said the data also points to inflation and consumers should "brace themselves for significant price rises in 2017".

"The downside of a weak currency is import price inflation.

"Manufacturers increased the price of their goods at the fastest rate on record.

"Retailers are also experiencing the highest rate of cost inflation in over eight years."

The Ulster Bank surveys the activity of private sector firms every month, in what is considered a reliable indicator of the economy.

More on this story