Sunday 22 April 2018

Construction sector growth slows but remains strong in July

PMI figures show the construction sector continued to grow in July Photo: Thinkstock
PMI figures show the construction sector continued to grow in July Photo: Thinkstock
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The construction sector continued to grow last month although there were signs of a slowdown in comparison to June, according to figures released today.

The Ulster Bank purchasing manager’s index fell from 65.7 to 59.1 in July. Any reading above 50 denotes construction expansion, while any figure below signals a contraction.

Although there were pressures put on Irish firms by the cost of imports from non-EU countries the sector continued to expand, with activity, new orders and employment all growing.

“The overall PMI index did fall back a bit last month, but from what was an exceptionally strong reading in June and the July results signal that firms continue to experience rapid growth,” said Ulster Bank chief economist Simon Barry.

Mirroring the overall results, somewhat slower - but still solid - growth was recorded in both housing and commercial activity.  The results for civil engineering were not as favourable, with activity here registering a decline in July, ending a three-month run of expansion.

“The July survey also reported further signs of healthy growth in the key areas of new orders and employment, though the pace of increase moderated slightly in these indices also.  New business levels have been on the rise for over two years now – a pattern that is underpinning high levels of confidence within the sector.  Sentiment among firms rose notably last month, with over two-thirds of respondents expecting activity levels to rise further in the coming year.

He added: “The July figures point to an encouraging start to the second half of the year, with construction sector recovery momentum looking healthy in the early part of the third quarter.”

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