Thursday, March 15, 2012

15/3/2012: Irish Building & Construction Sector Q4 2011

About six months ago I was told by a 'person in the know' that there is huge construction boom about to happen in Ireland as multinationals are allegedly fighting over each other over suitable new office facilities. May be. Or may be not. I am not in the business of building stuff, so would have to wait for a credible flow of news and data to confirm such a shift in the trends. Today's CSO stats on activity in Construction and Building sector is not exactly pointing to a massive uptick.

Let's take a look.

First, data for construction & building ex-civil engineering:

  • Value index remained flat at 20.9 in Q4 2011, same as in Q3 2011. Year on year index is down 8.3%. 6mo average is now 0.2% ahead of previous 6mos average and year on year, 6mo average is down 12%. No improvement here. 
  • Value of construction and building ex-civil engineering is now down to 18.4% of the peak level.
  • Volume index also remained falt at 18.8 in Q4 2011 and Q3 2011, while year on year Q4 2011 index is down 5.5 on Q4 2010. 6mo average for the most recent 6 months is up 0.5% and year on yer last six months activity is down 9.2%. No improvements here either.
  • Volume of construction and building ex-civil engineering is now 18.0% of the peak.
Chart to illustrate:


As annual rates of change suggest - things are getting worse at a slower speed.

In terms of civil engineering output:
  • There was a substantial jump in civil engineering output value in Q4 2011 - up 27.7% qoq although still down 11.8% yoy. Latest 6mos average is 10.8% ahead of previous 6mo average and down 16% year on year.
  • There was also a measurable increase in volume of civil engineering activity up 27.8% qoq inQ4 2011, although still 9.1% down yoy. 6mo average through December 2011 is 11.1% ahead of preceding 6mos period and 13.3% below the same period in 2010.
So some improvements here in quarterly series and dramatic ones, but still down yoy:


Lastly, residential v non-residential construction activity:
  • Value of residential construction activity declined to  9.7 in Q4 2011 from 9.9 in Q3 2011. Value of residential construction sector activity is now 91.0% below its peak and is 90% below 2005 levels. Yar on year value of activity is down 21.1%. 
  • Volume of residential sector activity slipped marginally to 8.9 inQ4 2011 from 9.0 in Q3 2011. Year on year the index is down 15.2% and relative to peak it is down 91.5%. Volume of construction activity in the residential sector is now down 91% on 2005 levels.
  • Abysmal does not even begin to describe these results and there is no improvement in year on year performance since Q4 2006 in value and since Q1 2006 in volume terms.
  • Non-residential activity in value terms improved slightly from 62.7 in Q3 2011 to 63.6 inQ4 2011 - marking second consecutive quarter of improvements. Yoy activity in Q4 2011 was up 1.1% - first yearly rise since Q4 2008. Relative to peak value of non-residential construction activity is still down 48.3%.
  • Non-residential construction volume index also improved, marking third quarter of gains in a row, rising from 56.6 in Q3 2011 to 57.8 in Q4 2011. Annual rate of increase is now 4% and this is the first such gain since Q3 2007.


So on the net, some positive moves in non-residential construction which still require continued confirmation to the upside in the next 1-2 quarters in order to call the market bottom and a year or so more of consistent rises to call the upswing trend. Negative newsflow for residential, although some moderation in the rate of decline.
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