Contraction slows in Irish construction

By Steve Skinner14 September 2009

Latest data about the construction industry in Ireland from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) showed a rise for the second month in a row to 37,9 in July, up from 26,3 in June. The July index represents the slowest contraction of business activity in the sector since November 2007.

Simon Barry, senior economist at Ulster Bank said, "Activity in the Irish construction sector remains weak, as shown by the PMI index remaining well below its average level of the past nine years. However, the overall PMI continues to pick-up from its record low in January.

"While the expectations index of the PMI survey fell back slightly in July, looking forwards it is more encouraging. Respondents linked the less pessimistic outlook to hopes that overall economic conditions will be on an improved path in 12 months time."

The PMI report highlighted that the three sectors it monitors all saw declines in activity in July, with the sharpest contraction felt in the residential sector, where the pace of decline accelerated. Civil engineering activity slowed markedly, but remained at a ‘substantial' level, while commercial activity fell sharply, but remained the strongest performing sector of the three.

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