Sentiment strengthens

20 March 2008

Sentiment in the European construction industry grew stronger in April, with a balance of +43,4% of CE barometer survey respondents saying they were busier in April than the previous month. This was by far the highest response to this survey question of the CE Barometer's short history.

Asked about future business expectations, a balance of +54,3% said they expected activity to be higher in a year's time than currently. While this is a strong result, it is down 7 points from the high of the positive balance +61.3% seen in January, and April was the third month in a row of gentle declines in this result.

The strengthening current situation and softening future outlook meant the arrow of our clock moved the closest to the vertical it has been, indicating that the industry may be reaching a peak of activity in the current cycle.

However, the industry is still slightly more up-beat about future prospects than current growth in the industry, and this indicates the peak has not yet been reached, although it has moved progressively closer over the course of the year to date.

Overall, the industry remains extremely bullish. A crude measure of this is the ‘CE Climate', which is an overall balance figure for the total number of positive or negative responses to all of our survey questions. The results of April's survey saw this figure rise to a balance of +53%, the highest it has been.

The balance figures are arrived at by subtracting the number of respondents who said activity was worse from the number who said it was better. These numbers are then expressed as a percentage of the total number of responses.

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