Brakes being put on new car sales with 6.5% fall
One of the most accurate measures of confidence in the Northern Ireland economy fell once again last month as consumers kept their hands in their pockets.
New car registrations here stood at 5,602 in January, a fall of nearly 6.5% on the same month last year.
Across the UK as a whole, 127,750 new cars were sold, a fall of 0.2%, with the deterioration in the Northern Ireland market the most marked.
Meanwhile, the difficult economic climate continues to take its toll on both individual and company finances.
Latest data from the Insolvency Service showed the number of individual insolvencies in the third quarter of 2011 climbed to 612 from 582 in the same period in 2011. Of those, 301 were bankruptcy orders, 277 were individual voluntary arrangements and 34 were debt relief orders.
Richard Ramsey, economist at Ulster Bank, said Northern Ireland compares well to other regions of the UK.
"Whilst NI's personal insolvencies are still rising it should be noted that the incidence of personal insolvency (on a per capita basis) is still around half of that in England & Wales."