Ireland’s construction sector expanded at a softer pace in December, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 52.3 in December from 53.5 in November.

A score above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

Housing activity increased sharply in December and activity on residential projects expanded to the greatest extend since July. Meanwhile, commercial activity and civil engineering work declined.

New orders rose for the third straight month in December and employment increased to the highest in eighteen months.

Suppliers delivery time lengthened as the rise in demand led to an increase in purchasing activity.

Input cost inflation remained sharp in December, despite easing to the lowest in four months.

Confidence in the 12-month outlook strengthened for the third straight month improving to the highest since February.

“While vaccine roll-out plans continue to underpin confidence about medium-term recovery prospects, this week’s further significant tightening of public health restrictions, including a closure of most construction work until at least the end of January, represents a major setback for the wider Irish economy and the construction sector itself, which look set to start 2021 on a weak footing,” Simon Barry, an Ulster Bank economist, said.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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