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Financial News: Ireland Construction Sector Growth Eases In February

Ireland Construction Sector Growth Eases In February

03/09/2020 - 06:18:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Ireland's construction sector expanded for the third straight month in February, though at a softer pace, data from the IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The Ulster Bank construction Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.6 in February from 50.9 in January. Any score above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

"New business continued to rise at a healthy, though slower, rate in February as reduced Brexit-related uncertainty was again cited as a support for new orders," Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said.

"However, the global spread of the coronavirus represents a new important source of downside risk to the Irish economy as we look ahead, albeit that the mainly domestic-facing construction sector is perhaps less directly exposed to adverse virus impacts than the more heavily trade- and tourism dependent areas of the economy."

Housing activity contracted at a slower pace in February and civil engineering activity declined at a faster pace. At the same time, growth in commercial activity softened.

New orders rose for the third month in a row in February and led to an increase in the staffing level and purchasing activity. Employment rose for the past six-and-a-half years, though the increase was the slowest since last October.

Efforts to secure new inputs were dampened by suppliers' delivery delays in February, and average lead times lengthened to the greatest extent for seven months. This was due to stormy weather and also caused by the outbreak of coronavirus in China.

The rate of input cost inflation increased to the highest in three months in February.

The twelve-month outlook for business activity remained positive in February, though eased from the previous month's one year high. Firms were confident that their new business would improve in the coming year.

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