Sentiment strengthens

25 March 2008

The european construction sector became even more bullish in March, with sentiment about the current state of the industry rising to its strongest for four months. This combined with a continued up-beat view on the outlook for a year's time give the CE Barometer its strongest results to date.

Asked about current business levels, a balance of 33,8% of respondents said activity was higher in March than February. This was up +12,3 points from the figure of 21,5% in February. It was also the highest current sentiment figure to date, beating the previous peak of a balance of +22,7% in December.

The balance figure was arrived at by subtracting the number of respondents who said activity was worse from the number who said it was better.

This number was then expressed as a percentage of the total number of responses.

Sentiment about the industry's future outlook was almost unchanged in March compared to February, at an extremely bullish +57,1%.

Although there was a marginal slide from the previous month's figure of +57,9%, respondents to the CE Barometer survey continue to be extremely up-beat about the industry's future outlook. The lowest this figure has been was +49,5% in December – still highly positive.

The net effect of these two changes was that our clock arrow once again moved nearer to the vertical in March. It is significant that the industry is more up-beat about the future than the current outlook, and this indicates the peak of the cycle is yet to be reached.

However, our arrow has moved closer to the vertical for three consecutive months, which indicates the peak is getting closer.

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