Total activity across the Irish construction sector continued to increase in April, with the rate of expansion accelerating to a three-month high. Greater output was also reflected in faster growth in new orders, input purchasing and employment.
That said, rises in demand fed through to increased pressure on supply chains and a marked increase in input prices. Although robust overall, confidence at construction firms dipped to a three-month low.
The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – rose from 57.5 in March to 60.7 in April. The latest reading signalled a sharp expansion across the Irish construction sector, the second-fastest since May 2017. The overall upturn was driven by an increase in new projects following poor weather in the first few months of the year.
Commenting on the survey, Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, noted that: “The latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey show that Irish construction firms experienced strong, and faster, rates of expansion in April. Following a weather-related slowdown in March, the headline PMI picked back up to a very elevated reading of 60.7 in April, in the process reaching a three-month high. There was a very sharp acceleration in commercial activity which took the Commercial PMI to its highest level since last May, in the process leaving commercial as the strongest performing activity category last month. But the improvement was broadly-based, with the pace of growth in Housing activity also picking up to an eleven-month high, while Civil Engineering recorded a fifth consecutive month of expansion, albeit at a somewhat slower pace in April.
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