Economic analysis

Fresh insights and perspectives on the UK and Northern Ireland economies

My name is Conor Lambe and I am the Chief Economist at Danske Bank.

I am responsible for the Bank’s economic analysis and forecasts, write regular opinion articles for the Northern Irish media and frequently speak at local business events.

Economic analysis is a useful tool for many businesses. It can help you to understand what is driving the performance of the economy and whether current trends are likely to continue, as well as what the implications could mean for your business.

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Flash comments

Regular commentary on the main economic data releases and events in Northern Ireland and the UK

  • UK inflation data: February 2019

    UK inflation data: February 2019

    Commenting on the latest figures, Danske Bank Chief Economist Conor Lambe said:

    “UK inflation increased slightly to 1.9 per cent in February, which was the first increase since last August. But, despite the rise, inflation remained below the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target for the second month in succession.

    “Looking beyond the headline figure and at the different categories of goods and services, the largest price rises were for alcohol and tobacco and in the communication category which includes postal services, mobile phones and internet subscriptions.

    “There were also quite strong price rises within the transport category, for example the price of new cars increased by 5 per cent over the year to February, and for recreational activities.

    “The one category in which prices fell over the year was clothing and footwear. This was the sixth consecutive month in which the price of clothes and shoes decreased.

    “The latest labour market data showed that wages for employees in Great Britain increased by 3.4 per cent over the year to November – January. So, despite the small rise in inflation, the rate of real wage growth remains firmly in positive territory, as it has been for some months now.”

    This comment was published in response to the February 2019 UK inflation data published by the ONS on 20 March 2019.

  • NI labour market data: Nov - Jan 2019

    NI labour market data: Nov - Jan 2019

    Commenting on the latest figures, Danske Bank Chief Economist Conor Lambe, said:

    “Today’s data continues to reinforce the message that the Northern Ireland labour market is in relatively good shape. The employment rate increased over the quarter and the year to November – January and now sits at a record high. The increase over the year was broad based with increases observed in the employment rate for both men and women and across all age categories within the working age population. The fall in the economic inactivity rate shown in the data is also a welcome development.

    “In addition, the Quarterly Employment Survey data showed the number of jobs in the local economy is also at a record high with the number of jobs in the broad manufacturing, construction and services sectors all increasing at the end of last year.

    “While this is all positive news, we must recognise the fact that the future performance of the local labour market will be heavily dependent on how the Brexit process evolves in the coming days. A no-deal Brexit occurring on 29 March is very unlikely, though still technically possible. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit is a necessity for the local economy and for the individual businesses across Northern Ireland that are continuing to create jobs.”

    This comment was published in response to the November – January 2019 Northern Ireland labour market data and the Northern Ireland Quarterly Employment Survey for December 2018 published by NISRA on 19 March 2019.


  • UK inflation data: December 2018

    UK inflation data: December 2018

    Commenting on the latest figures, Danske Bank Chief Economist Conor Lambe said:

    “Inflation in the UK fell from 2.3 per cent in November 2018 to 2.1 per cent in December – the lowest rate since January 2017.

    “A large contributing factor to the fall in the headline inflation rate was a decline in the rate of price rises for petrol and diesel. The annual inflation rate for petrol fell from 7.6 per cent in November to 1.5 per cent in December, while the inflation rate for diesel decreased from 11.2 per cent to 6.7 per cent.

    “This fall in inflation is welcome news for consumers as it marks another step on the path back towards the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target. When coupled with recent strong data on wage growth, this decline in the rate of inflation offers further support to consumer spending power as it continues its gradual recovery. 

    “However, while this data can be viewed as positive news, it is important to recognise the high degree of uncertainty that currently exists around the Brexit process. The future paths of inflation, consumer confidence and household spending are all likely to be impacted by how the Brexit process unfolds in the weeks and months ahead.”

    This comment was published in response to the December 2018 UK inflation data published by the ONS on 16 January 2019.