European construction output slump continues

By Helen Wright21 May 2012

Falling construction output in Europe continued in March, according to the latest data from Eurostat, which showed a 3.8% year-on-year decrease in the Eurozone and a 3.9% drop in the EU27.

The figures make March the third consecutive month in which Europe's construction output has fallen, following year-on-year declines in January and February.

The largest year-on-year reductions in March were registered in Portugal, where construction output fell 16.4% in March 2012, compared to the same month last year. Slovakia, Spain and Slovenia also registered double digit year-on-year declines of 11.0%, 10.9% and 10.7%.

Offsetting this, annual increases in construction output in March were registered in Sweden (7.9%), Germany (6.3%) and Poland (2.4%).

However, a month-on-month comparison revealed more encouraging data. Compared with February, March's construction output rose 12.4% in the Eurozone and 11.8% in the EU27.

The highest monthly increases were registered in Germany (30.7%), France (17.8%), UK (14.8%) and Italy (9.5%). The largest month-on-month decrease was registered in Romania, where construction output fell 8.8%. A drop of 6.8% was also registered in Portugal, while Spanish construction output fell 1.8% in March, compared to February.

In terms of sectors, Eurostat said building construction output increased 11.7% month-on-month in the Eurozone, and 11.9% in the EU27, while civil engineering output was up 16.4% in the Eurozone and 14.3% in the EU27.

But on an annual comparison, building construction output fell 3.4% year-on-year in the Eurozone and dropped 3.1% in the EU27 in March. Civil engineering output decreased 4.9% in the Eurozone and fell 8% in the EU27, compared to March 2011.

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