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News : Property Last Updated: Jul 9, 2012 - 9:42 AM

Irish construction sector activity fell again in June 2012
By Finfacts Team
Jul 9, 2012 - 6:06 AM

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The downturn in the Irish construction sector showed signs of deepening in June as both activity and new business decreased at faster rates. In response to lower workloads, firms cut their purchasing activity and employment further. There was some respite for firms on the cost front as the rate of input price inflation slowed markedly and was only slight. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)  -- a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity - - fell to 42.5 in June, from 46.3 in the previous month to signal the sharpest reduction in activity since September 2011. According to respondents, falling activity largely reflected weak demand.

Commenting on the survey, John Fahey, economist, Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “The June reading of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI shows that the construction sector continues to experience contraction in activity levels. The latest survey results represent an acceleration in the pace of contraction, with the total activity index falling to 42.5 in June, the fastest pace of decline since September of last year. From a sectoral perspective, the weakness was broad-based, with all three of the principal sub-sectors registering further contraction in activity levels.

For the third straight month, housing activity suffered the sharpest contraction in activity compared to both commercial and civil engineering activity, although all three sectors recorded an acceleration in the pace of contraction. Given the continued contraction in overall activity levels, the construction sector remains in job shedding mode. The contraction in employment quickened slightly in June, with employment continuing to decline, as it has done in each month since May 2007.

“While construction firms continue to express optimism that activity levels will be higher over the coming 12 months, the new orders index, which is regarded as an important lead indicator, posted its fastest pace of decline since February. This represents the sixth consecutive below 50 reading on the new orders index and suggests that the outlook remains challenging for the construction sector over the coming months.”

The number of firms polled was not reported, suggesting that it is not significant.

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