On 14 April, 120 senior business leaders attended the CBI’s Annual Economic Briefing & Lunch at the Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast, to hear insights from a number of key experts on the outlook for the economy. The event was kindly sponsored by the Bank of Ireland.
CBI’s head of Tax and Fiscal Policy commented on the UK & international outlook, Bank of Ireland’s UK Economist & Market Analyst gave an Northern Ireland perspective, while Ibec’s chief economist provided an economic outlook for the Republic of Ireland.
Commenting on the UK and international economic outlook, Rob Fontana-Reval, CBI Head of Tax and Fiscal Policy, said:
“The UK is forecast to remain among the fastest growing advanced economies, with domestic demand in a healthy state.
“But firms across the country will need to be vigilant in the face of significant risks on the radar, from uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum to volatility in financial markets and a slowing Chinese economy.”
Giving a Northern Ireland specific focus to the event, Alan Bridle, UK Economist & Market Analyst for Bank of Ireland said:
“The private sector continues to drive expansion in regional output and employment with annual growth of around 1.5% and a net 11,000 jobs created in the last 12 months although the immediate outlook appears a little more unsettled with momentum slowing in the UK amidst heightened uncertainties and more cautious sentiment during Q2.
“Strategically, a more prosperous regional economy in the longer term will be dependent upon boosting productivity by attracting and generating higher value employment while accelerating the rate of public and private investment in infrastructure, skills and technology. For decades, local economic activity has largely been about sustaining levels of private consumption but a rebalance towards investment would support both demand in the short-term and the supply-side in the longer term.”