The new year brought an improvement in confidence in the European construction sector. Although month-on-month activity fell - not uncommon over the winter - there was a marked improvement in sentiment for the future.
Current confidence fell to a negative balance of -8.8%, a figure arrived at by subtracting the percentage of negative responses from positive ones. Although this indicates a fall in activity, it was an improvement from December's figure of -9.2%, and November's -24,2% result.
However, the real improvement was seen in sentiment about the future. A positive balance of +8.0% of respondents said they expected activity to be higher in a year's time than now. This compared to a flat 0.0% result in December, and a positive figure of just +2.1% in November.
An overwhelming proportion of respondents also said that activity was higher this month than a year ago, with a positive balance of +40.1% registering this view. This was the highest this measure of confidence has been since September 2009.
As a result of all of this, the overall Climate stood at 4.1%, a return to positive territory after two months in the red.
Although January's results represent a step in the right direction, it has to be said that, as has been the case for most of the last five months, the strength of the sentiment is not particularly strong. More than anything else, this indicates uncertainty and a lack of clear direction for the construction industry. So although January's results are good news, it would be too soon to say they herald a broad recovery in the market.
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