Sentiment in the European construction sector remained similar to December’s levels in January, although there was some softening in areas that were already marginal.

The overall climate slipped a little from November’s balance figure of +21.9% to +17.7. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the number of negative ones, and the CE Climate is a broad measure of sentiment in the industry.

The factor that pulled sentiment down from December, was respondents views about activity levels compared to a year ago. A positive balance of only +6.1%, compared to +17.4%, said they were busier now than in January 2013.

Although still in the black, the measure of sentiment has proved to be one of the more fragile ones over 2013. January’s results were the sixth in a row that were positive, but this is the lowest the figure has been since October. A positive response to this question is of course indicative of a market showing long-term growth, so any weakness here might put a question mark over whether the European construction sector is in recovery.

Sentiment about month-to-month activity moved up slightly from +1.2% in December to +3.0% for January. Although a step in the right direction, this measure of sentiment was around the +10% balance figure mark from September to October last year.

But once again, there was impressive optimism among respondents about future prospects for the industry, with a balance of +43.9% saying they expected greater activity in a year’s time. This was on a par with December’s figure of +45.3%.

Overall, the picture for the industry was similar in January to December, with sentiment in positive territory, but wavering downwards slightly in a few cases.

Take part

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

Click here to read last month's CE Barometer results.

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