Wednesday 16 January 2019

Delivery delays due to Storm Emma do little to hamper 'brisk' construction activity

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Adverse weather conditions caused some disruption to the Irish construction industry in March but activity still continued to rise.

Heavy snowfall at the start of the month had an impact on the pace of growth with slower expansions in activity, new orders and purchasing activity.

Supplier deliveries also suffered as a result of Storm Emma with lead times lengthening considerably, to an extent not seen since the end of 2005.

Reflecting this weakened increase in activity pace, the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 57.5 in March from 59.2 in February.

However, output continued to expand "at a very brisk pace" last month with new housing and commercial projects as the rate of job creation picked up and business sentiment remained elevated.

"Despite having to contend with adverse weather during the early part of the month in particular, Irish construction activity continued to expand at a very brisk pace in March, according to the latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey," Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank said.  

"The headline PMI continues to point to robust growth, albeit not quite as rapid as in February when the PMI was at 59.2. In fact, we would not have been surprised to have seen a larger weather impact, particularly given the sizeable impact on factory output reported in the March Manufacturing PMI survey."

Mr Barry also said that confidence levels among Irish construction firms remains "very buoyant" with more than 63pc of firms expecting activity to increase in the coming twelve months.

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