Irish Construction Activity Rose Sharply In May

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20th June 2014 14:52 - Construction

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) posted a 60.2 reading for the Irish construction sector in May, less than April’s figure (63.5) - which was a near-record high - but still a sharp increase in total construction activity.

Building activity has now consecutively risen for the last nine months, with recent increases linked to higher workloads and improving confidence.

Once again, commercial activity out-performed housing and civil engineering with a reading of 61.4 in May, 2.1 points down on April’s figure (63.6).  Housing incurred a similar reduction in May (61.0) from April (63.4), but civil engineering posted a fairly steep increase bettering April’s figure (41.8) by 5.1 points last month (47.9).

The Irish construction market experienced continued new business growth – both domestically and from external markets, with employment on the up for the ninth consecutive month. Employment figure rises were largely put down to the increased volume of activity.

Approximately 30% of respondents said they upped their purchasing levels in May. Because of this, suppliers responded by raising prices and this contributed to solid increases in input prices – the sharpest since March 2012.

Consequently, business sentiment remained high last month and, again, was one of the strongest results in the survey’s history.

Simon Barry, Chief Economist of the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, commented: “Companies reported success in securing contracts for work both in Ireland and abroad and were confident that these trends would continue over the coming year, leading to further growth of activity during the next 12 months.

“Overall, the May data re-affirms the recent view of a sector on the mend.”

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