At 56.3 in December, up from 55.5 in November, the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – signalled a stronger expansion of Irish construction activity.
The latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey show that Irish construction firms experienced solid, and faster, rates of expansion in December. The headline PMI picked up for the second month in a row, with a robust reading of 56.3 marking a four-month high. The Commercial PMI picked up slightly from what was already an elevated reading in November, in the process leaving commercial as the strongest performing activity category last month. Housing activity continued to grow strongly and at a pace similar to that recorded on average during the 2004-06 pre-crisis period, albeit that the pace of expansion moderated from November. Overall, the December survey results round off another strong year for Irish construction firms, with the PMI pointing to ongoing very healthy expansion throughout 2018. Moreover, momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look solid, with New Orders continuing to rise solidly in December indicating that activity trends look set to remain positive in early 2019. Furthermore, firms themselves remain optimistic about the coming year with almost half of respondents expecting further growth in activity in the coming 12 months. Positive sentiment about the year ahead is being underpinned by increased capital investments along with confidence about the prospects of the wider Irish economy more generally.