Construction activity hit a four-month high in December

By Greg Murphy

Construction activity growth hit a four-month high in the month of December.

The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Manager's Index monitors the sector's monthly performance and showed a reading of 56.3 in the final month of 2018, rising from 55.5 in November.

Job creation in the sector also continued to rise for the 64th consecutive month.

Whilst civil engineering projects declined in December, the Ulster Bank Index says a rise in commercial construction which grew at the fastest pace in five months.

Residential construction, whilst growing slower than in November, grew at a pace similar to the recorded average during the 2004-06 pre-crisis period.

Simon Barry, Ulster Bank's chief economist said that the December survey rounds off "another strong year" for Irish construction.

He said: "Momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look solid, with New Orders continuing to rise solidly in December indicating that activity trends look set to remain positive in early 2019.

"Furthermore, firms themselves remain optimistic about the coming year with almost half of respondents expecting further growth in activity in the coming 12 months.

"Positive sentiment about the year ahead is being underpinned by increased capital investments along with confidence about the prospects of the wider Irish economy more generally.”

Latest Construction PMI readingsNovember 18December 18
Total Activity55.555.6
Housing Activity58.256.0
Commerical Activity57.558.5
Civil Engineering Activity40.145.5

Index readings above 50 signal an increase in activity on the previous month and reading below 50 signals a decrease. All indexes given above and displayed in the charts are seasonall adjusted. SOurces: IHS Markit, Ulster Bank

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