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Financial News: Ireland Construction Sector Contracts Most In 11 Years

Ireland Construction Sector Contracts Most In 11 Years On COVID-19 Pandemic

04/06/2020 - 01:09:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Ireland's construction sector contracted at the sharpest pace in eleven years in March, amid COVID-19 pandemic, data from the IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The Ulster Bank construction Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 28.9 in March from 50.6 in February.

The latest reading signaled the strongest deterioration in eleven years. Any score below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

"The coronavirus outbreak and associated containment measures led to a collapse in Irish construction activity last month," Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said.

"The headline PMI index fell to levels that have only previously been seen at the height of the global financial crisis, with the largest monthly drop in the survey's 20-year history underscoring the extent of the disruptions faced by Irish construction firms last month," Barry added.

Housing activity, civil engineering activity and commercial activity logged steep declines in March.

New orders declined at the sharpest pace since April 2009 and decreased after a three months growth.

Employment level decreased in Mach as companies shut their operation due to COVID-19 outbreak. The pace of reduction in staffing was the sharpest in over nine years.

Purchasing activity declined in March with the reduction in requirements for the items. Suppliers' delivery time lengthened to the greatest extend in nearly twenty years.

On the price front, input prices rose in March but the rate of inflation eased to the lowest in six months.

Sentiments declined at a sharp pace due to the COVID-19 outbreak in March. Companies were pessimistic around the prospects for activity for the next year, with expectations the lowest since January 2009.

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