A recent survey suggests that business confidence is returning in the country, with output returning to growth as the second quarter of the year kicks in. A survey by the Ulster Bank has revealed that business confidence is the highest it has been for 14 months, but there has been an increase in costs which is causing some concern among the business fraternity.
Optimism Returning To The Private Sector
The survey was taken in April and it shows that there is great optimism returning to many private sector firms. Ulster Bank`s chief economist Richard Ramsey is quoted on the BBC News NI website, saying:
“It’s the first time Northern Ireland’s private sector has recorded expansion of business activity since last September,” he told BBC News NI.
“We are seeing a big improvement in business conditions and overall we are seeing a significant rebound in April.”
“The worst is behind us in terms of the slump or the collapse in demand that we saw last year under full lockdowns,” he said.
“We are going to see a pickup in unemployment later in the year.”
Supply Chain Reduction & Rising Costs
And on the subject of supply chain reduction and rising costs, Mr Ramsey said:
“Adapting to the Northern Ireland Protocol is one aspect of the increasing cost of doing business.
“However, it isn’t the only source of disruption.
“Economies around the world have seen a lengthening in suppliers’ delivery times due to the pandemic and worldwide shipping issues such as a shortage of shipping containers.
“Linked to this, Northern Ireland firms once again reported a record rise in input costs stemming from higher prices for raw materials and fuel coupled with increased shipping costs.
“In turn, companies are also passing these increased costs onto their customers at a record rate.”
The Good News And The Bad News
So there is good news that business confidence is returning and we are seeing a bounce back in the economy, however the bad news is that it seems consumers may have to bear some of the extra costs that are now being incurred due to the factors described above.
We would like to reiterate that if there are any businesses out there who have not got the benefit of an accountancy firm looking after their accounts and helping with a business plan and business growth, we are here to help as a partner. Please get in touch with our team in confidence by giving our offices a call on 028 3752 2909.