Activity in the Irish construction sector rose
again during February as new order growth picked up pace according to PMI data -
- this is a measure of an increase in activity from a very low base and the
number of firms polled has not been disclosed. So it's likely very low.
Companies also upped their rate of job
creation and maintained a strongly optimistic outlook for the year ahead.
Meanwhile, cost inflationary pressures were only modest, having eased for the
fourth successive month. The Ulster Bank
Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) - -
a seasonally adjusted index designed to track
changes in total construction activity - - registered at 56.2 in February,
broadly unchanged from the reading of 56.4 in January, and thereby signalling a
further sharp rise in activity in the construction sector. Activity has now
increased in each of the past six months.
Commenting on the survey, Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at
Ulster Bank, noted that: "The February results of the Ulster Bank
Construction PMI point to further rises in Irish construction activity mid-way
through the first quarter of 2014. The headline PMI index was essentially
unchanged in February and remains well above the expansion threshold of 50,
consistent with ongoing solid gains in activity. Indeed, the Construction PMI
has been above 50 for six months in a row now – an important sign that recovery
in the sector is becoming increasingly well -established. The pick-up in
activity is translating into a welcome rise in staffing levels, with the
employment index also registering a sixth consecutive monthly expansion in
"Looking ahead, near-term prospects for the sector are supported by further
growth in new orders as firms reported that better market conditions are
generating stronger pipelines of new business. Beyond the near-term, firms
remain strongly optimistic about the sector’s 12 -month ahead outlook as
sentiment last month remained close to the record high seen in December, buoyed
by more positive signs in the wider economy."
Housing sector leads overall expansion: On a sectoral basis, the sharpest
expansion in activity was again recorded on residential projects. Although the
rate of growth in housing activity slowed, it remained substantial. A further
marked increase in commercial activity was registered, while civil engineering
activity continued to fall at a sharp pace during the month.
New business growth accelerates: New
orders increased for the eighth consecutive month in February, and the rate of
growth quickened from that seen in January. Panellists reported that
strengthening market conditions had resulted in greater opportunities to gain
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