Construction output growth eases slightly in December

The final index for new orders was 56.2, below the flash reading of 56.6 but above a final 54.7 in the previous month. In Germany, the region's largest economy, this "poses a risk to the sector's ability to kick on". "The sector has therefore broadly maintained its solid boost to broader economic expansion in the fourth quarter".

Markit's final services index rose to 55.8 from 54.3 in November, helped by a sharper increase in new business in all sections of the sector.

With industry at its limits, there are implications for inflation in the euro region, which remains below the European Central Bank's target of just under 2 percent. Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said the headline figures come with "a health warning about the sustainability of the upturn". "The near- record incidences of supply chain delays seen towards the end of 2017 indicate that pricing power is shifting from the buyer to the seller, suggesting upward price pressures are gradually returning", he added. "This, in turn, drove a further rise in employment and higher input and output prices".

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) posted 52.2 in December, down from 53.1 in November but above the 50.0 no-change threshold for the third month running.

Greater production requirements also impacted purchasing activity which increased at the fastest pace since February. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

"Overall, 2017 has been a positive year for the Spanish economy, leaving it well placed heading into 2018".

"The strongest pace of improvement was in the intermediate goods category, followed closely by investment goods, with PMI readings at eighty-two month highs in both cases", the group said. According to the survey, new orders stabilised in December while job creation was the fastest since September.

United Kingdom construction companies indicated an uneven recovery in business activity at the end of 2017.

  • Anthony Vega