April saw confidence in the European construction sector hold steady, with greater optimism about the future, but month-on-month activity at about the same as level as March.
The most striking result in April was a sharp increase in positive sentiment on the future. A positive balance of 30.3% of respondents saying they expected activity to be higher in a year's time compared to now. This compared to a figure of 17.1% in March, and it was the highest this level of confidence has been since June last year.
But while this measure of sentiment showed a strong improvement, others were not so up-beat. Only a positive balance of 7.4% of respondents said month-on-month activity was higher in April than in March - still a positive result, but disappointing following march's 24.3% leap in this metric.
Another disappointing result in April was the -1.6% negative balance of respondents who said activity was lower than a year ago. This was an improvement on March's result of -15.3%, but it was still the third consecutive month that this gauge of activity has been in negative territory.
But overall the figures saw the CE Climate, a broad measure of confidence in the industry, moved up from +8.7% in March to +12.1% in April. It was the fifth straight month that this indicator of sentiment had moved up, following the sharp dip in November when the Euro-zone debt crisis was at its worst.
So in general, there was an improvement in sentiment in April, but with different metrics moving to different degrees, there is no real strong direction. And with the CE Climate improving, but still relatively subdued, the situation still looks fragile.
The survey, which takes just a one minute to complete, is open to all construction professionals working in Europe. The CE Barometer survey is open from the 1st to the 15th of each month on our website. Full information can be found at www.cebarometer.eu