UK orders are up

By Sandy Guthrie10 March 2011

Total volume of all new construction orders in the UK for the fourth quarter of 2010 rose by +18% compared with the third quarter, and by +3% compared with the same period in 2009.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - which reports to the UK government - found that all construction sectors showed a growth in new orders in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter.

The UK's Construction Products Association welcomed the rise, but expressed concern that this increase in orders was still dependent upon spending by the public sector on social housing, education, health and infrastructure, and felt there was little sign of a recovery in the private sector.

The association added that construction product manufacturers had suffered from rising costs of energy, fuel and materials over the last three months. It said this had led to a sharp fall in margins with the uncertain economic environment making it difficult to pass on these cost rises.

It also said that manufacturers expected cost rises over the next three months and the year ahead. This was likely to lead to further rises in the cost of construction during 2011, it said, when the UK industry was expected to endure a fall in output of -2% as a result of the negative impact of the public sector spending cuts.

The ONS constant price seasonally adjusted estimates showed that the volume of private housing orders in the fourth quarter of 2010 remained unchanged compared with the previous quarter, and rose by +50% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Public housing orders in the fourth quarter of 2010 rose by +69% compared with the previous quarter and also rose by +20% compared with the same period a year earlier. The ONS said this was the highest volume of public housing new orders since the third quarter of 2006.

The volume of infrastructure orders in the fourth quarter of 2010 rose by +37% compared with the previous quarter but fell by -24% compared with the same period a year earlier.

The volume of public non-housing, excluding infrastructure orders, in the fourth quarter of 2010 increased by +39% compared with the previous quarter. It rose by +1% compared with the same period a year earlier.

The value of private commercial orders in the fourth quarter of 2010 remained unchanged compared with the previous quarter but rose by +4% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Private industrial orders in the fourth quarter of 2010 rose by +14% compared with the previous quarter but fell by +23% compared with the same period a year earlier.

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