Index shows Irish construction ended 2016 on a high with firms 'strongly optimistic'

The Irish construction sector ended 2016 on a positive note, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

Index shows Irish construction ended 2016 on a high with firms 'strongly optimistic'

The Irish construction sector ended 2016 on a positive note, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The Index shows that activity within the sector continues to rise sharply amid a faster expansion of new orders.

Activity in December was shown by the Index to stand at a healthy 59.8.

This is well above the 50 threshold, which indicates that the sector is growing.

The reading was down marginally on the 59.8 recorded in November.

New orders have risen continuously throughout the past three-and-a-half years, December's expansion was faster than the level recorded in November.

The industry's level of job creation has also expanded as new orders came in - it was in-line with a spike recorded in November.

The rate of input cost inflation accelerated sharply during December and was the fastest since March 2007.

Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: "The December results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey indicate that Irish construction firms continued to experience sharp increases in activity last month.

"Both the residential and commercial sub-sectors remain particular sources of strength for survey respondents, with activity in both categories continuing to rise at rapid rates, albeit slightly less rapid than was the case in November.

"Civil engineering remains an area of weakness, however, with activity here decreasing for the second month running.

He said that, overall, the December results rounded off another strong year of recovery for Irish construction firms.

He said: "Moreover, momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look encouragingly solid, with a marked pick up in New Orders in December indicating that activity trends look set to remain positive in early 2017.

"Furthermore, firms themselves remain strongly optimistic about the coming year with almost two thirds of respondents expecting further growth in activity in the coming 12 months.

"While a notable late-year pick up in input prices points to increased challenges on the costs front, positive sentiment about the year ahead is being underpinned by signs of improving conditions in both the construction sector itself and the wider Irish economy."

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