Tuesday, December 11, 2012

11/12/2012: Construction Sector Activity in Ireland - Q3 2012



Horrible numbers out today for the Irish Building & Construction sector.

Per CSO: "The volume of output in building and construction was 4.2% lower in the third quarter of 2012 when compared with the preceding period. This reflects decreases of 5.3%, 2.4% and 1.9% respectively in the volume of residential building, civil engineering and non-residential building. The change in the value of production for all building and construction was -2.1%. On an annual basis, the volume of output in building and construction decreased by 10.8% in the third quarter of 2011. The value of production decreased by 8.5% in the same period."

Now some details:

  • Value Index for ex-Civil Engineering work stood at 17.5 in Q3 2012 (100=2005 activity levels), down 15.5% y/y, marking 23rd consecutive quarter of declines (! give that number a thought).
  • Worse, ex-Civil Engineering Value index is down 2.23% q/q, down 10.15% for Q2-Q3 2012 compared to Q4 2011-Q1 2012 6mo periods and down 14.5% for the 6 months through Q3 2012 compared to same period in 2011.
  • The rate of annual decline in the index has accelerated since Q4 2011.
  • Volume Index for ex-Civil engineering work fell to 15.5 in Q3 2012 from 15.9 in Q2 2012. The Index is now also down consecutive 23 quarters. The annual rate of decline continued to accelerate for the fourth quarter in a row.
  • In 6 months through Q3 2012 index fell 15.82% compared to same period of 2011. Quarterly index change is -2.52%.
  • Relative to peak, Value Index in ex-Civil Engineering sector is now at 15.39% and Volume Index is at 14.57%.

In Civil engineering sector things are bouncing at the bottom - a pattern that is now running solidly from Q3 2010:

  • Value Index for Civil engineering slipped to 63.0 from 64.6 in Q3 2012 compared to Q2 2012, marking a decline of 2.48% q/q. However, due to massive jump in Q2 (+16.2% y/y), index is still 9.2% ahead of Q3 2011 reading. This side of the Index is likely to suffer in 2013 due to Budget measures on capital spending.
  • Volume Index of Civil Engineering also fell from 57.5 in Q2 2012 to 56.1 in Q3 2012 (-2.43% q/q), although the index is up 7.9% y/y in Q3 2012 (due to a one-off substantial rise of 14.8% in Q2 2012).


Overall, based on simple averages, activity in Civil engineering remained broadly unchanged - at absolute lows - since Q3 2010, averaging between 63.3 for the Value Index and 56.3 for the Volume Index. This dynamic is simply inconsistent with any talk about economic turnaround.


Misery comparatives for the sector are self-evident when looking at residential and non-residential indices:



  • Value of Residential Construction reached another historical low in Q3 2012 - hitting 8.2, down from 8.5 in Q2 2012. This means that activity by value in this sub-sector is now down 91.8% on 2005 levels or 92.8% on pre-crisis peak. The Index has been posting annual rates of decline in every quarter since Q1 2007, or 23 quarters in a row. The rate of decline (y/y) also accelerated since Q1 2012.
  • Volume of Residential Construction is down from 7.6 in Q2 2012 to 7.2 in Q3 2012. Again, this implies that volume index is now down 92.8% on 2005 level and 93.0% down on pre-crisis peak. Annual rate of decline accelerate to 20% in Q3 2012, the highest rate in 4 quarters. The index has now posted 26 consecutive quarters of annual declines.
  • Non-residential Construction Value Index fell from 53.5 in Q2 2012 to 52.5 in Q3 2102, with annual rate of decline accelerating to 15.5% in Q3 2012, marking third consecutive quarter of annual declines. The index is now 57.4% down on pre-crisis peak.
  • Non-residential Construction Volume Index is down from 47.5 in Q2 2012 to 46.6 in Q3 2012, marking an accelerated annual rate of decrease of 16.3% in Q3. The Index is now down 58.4% on pre-crisis peak.

If anything the above dynamics clearly show that the rates of activity collapse are accelerating through Q3 2012, nto ameliorating or turning to positive growth. Both series dynamics, therefore, are consistent with worsening of economic conditions, not stabilization or a turnaround.

I will blog on European countries comparatives in the next post.
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