Sunday 17 December 2017

Biggest fall in EU building output for a year

Simone Meier

EUROPEAN construction output fell the most in more than a year in January, led by declines in Germany and Spain.

Construction in the 16-nation euro region dropped 2.2pc from December, when it decreased 1pc, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said yesterday.

January's fall was the biggest decline since December 2008. Euro-area labour costs rose 2.2pc in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the slowest growth in more than four years, a separate report showed.

Stagnant construction is putting a brake on profits at many big European construction companies.

HeidelbergCement, the world's third-largest maker of cement, said last month it plans to cut costs by an additional €300m this year to shore up earnings.


CRH said earlier this month that sales fell 17pc last year while profit before tax and impairment charges tumbled 53pc as sales shrank in most European markets and the US.

From a year earlier, European construction output dropped 12.5pc in January, the sharpest decline since February 2009. In the 27-nation EU, output fell 2pc from December and declined 8.4pc from the same month a year earlier.

German construction plunged 14.3pc from the previous month, while Spain showed a 6.1pc drop, according to yesterday's report.

French output fell 0.1pc and construction in Portugal declined 4.6pc from December.

The figures do not use Irish data because of delays in calculating construction activity here.

Irish Independent

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