August saw current confidence in the European construction sector sunk to its lowest since January 2010. However, respondents to the CE Barometer survey remained up-beat about future prospects for the industry.
A negative balance of -9.4% of respondents said activity was lower in August than July. As in the previous month, this could be due to the normal seasonal slowdown usually experienced by the industry. However, the downturn this summer has been sharper than usual, indicating there could be a more fundamental weakening in the market. It is the first time this measure of confidence has been in negative territory since January 2010.
But other measures of confidence remained strong. Sentiment on the future outlook is still up-beat, with a positive balance of +28.2% of respondents saying they expect to be busier in a year's time. This was an improvement on July's figure of + 22.1%.
There was also an improvement in the strength of sentiment about activity levels compared to a year ago, with +22.8% of respondents saying they were busier now than in August 2010. In July, this measure came in at just +9.8%.
The impact of these changes was that the overall confidence level edged up slightly to +13.4%, from +10.9% in July. Although an improvement, this composite score has been well above the +20% level for the last 18 months or so, including last summer's seasonal slowdown. It remains to be seen whether activity ramps up again in September and October after the summer holiday season.
CE would like to thank all those that took part in the August survey. It was completed by more than 300 construction professionals in 30 countries around the region.
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