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Northern Ireland businesses bounce back from Brexit with positive end to 2016, survey shows

By John Mulgrew

Businesses in Northern Ireland have bounced back from post-Brexit blues with more companies here reporting a positive end to 2016, a new survey has shown.

Firms experienced an upsurge across the majority of measures, with most key balances strengthening at the end of the year.

That's according to the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry's quarterly economic survey with BDO.

The bulk of firms, around two thirds, expect their businesses to grow in 2017 - with 16% saying they will grow strongly.

One in five said they expected to contract.

However, businesses are more concerned about the overall economy here.

Some 37% say the economy will contract in Northern Ireland in 2017.

And a rising concern among firms fluctuations in exchange rates.

Two thirds cite it as a major concern. That's up from the third quarter, which was the first survey carried out by the NI Chamber following the vote for Brexit.

And two thirds of companies in manufacturing and services have also experienced difficulties in recruiting new staff.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the NI Chamber said: "Our findings suggest that local businesses remain resilient as they continue to trade through the uncertainty, with many expecting continued growth in the months ahead."

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