The August vacation period in Europe had it usual impact on sentiment in the region’s construction industry, according to the latest results of the CE Barometer survey.
Although overall sentiment remained positive with the CE Climate, a composite of all measures of confidence, staying in the black at +10.8%, this balance figure was noticeably lower than levels seen previously in 2015. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses minus the percentage of negative responses. A positive figure indicates growth, a negative one contraction.
A key change was that month-on-month sentiment was in negative territory, at a balance of -9.5%. This compared to +9.7% just a month earlier.
It is common for activity levels to take a sudden dip in August, and the reason seems to be the holiday season. The important point of course is whether there is an equally sharp return to confidence. There is usually a rebound, but in 2014, for example, confidence levels were still well short of July’s levels in September.
Another more surprising dip in confidence centred on future sentiment, which is less prone to a summer downturn. A balance of just +9.5% of respondents said they expected activity levels to be higher in a year’s time than now. This measure of confidence had been in the +30% to +40% range for previous months in 2015.
And even more confusingly, an impressive +32.4% of respondents said activity levels this month were higher than a year ago. This was the highest this measure of confidence has been since 2007.
Clearly this month’s CE Barometer presents mixed messages, which again is not unusual for August. The key will be how things shake-out in the autumn months.
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