Private sector output in Northern Ireland continues to increase
Private sector output in Northern Ireland increased for the fourth successive month in August, new figures suggest.
The rate of business expansion was only slight, according to Ulster Bank's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).
The index, which provides a benchmarked snapshot of the economic outlook, also recorded an increase in new business and found that firms upped their pace of job creation.
However, Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank's chief economist in Northern Ireland, cautioned about the global implications of economic problems experienced by China.
More locally, he also expressed concern about the potential impact of the political crisis hitting Stormont.
"Overall, it is encouraging that Northern Ireland's private sector is still reporting growth in output and new orders for the fourth successive month, albeit at slower rates," he said.
"Furthermore, private sector employment was one of the few indicators to improve in August, with the rate of job creation accelerating.
"Given that the fastest growing economy in the EU - the Republic of Ireland - is on our doorstep, notwithstanding an uncompetitive sterling/euro exchange rate, it offers significant opportunities for local businesses. On the downside, the current political difficulties will undoubtedly affect business confidence in the months ahead and uncertainty with public sector budgets will continue."