DUBLIN (Alliance News) - Ireland's construction growth improved for a second straight month and was the fastest in four months in December, led by new order gains and increased job creation, data from IHS Markit showed on Monday.
The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 56.3 in December from 55.5 in November, which is highest since August. Any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the sector.
"Overall, the December survey results round off another strong year for Irish construction firms, with the PMI pointing to ongoing very healthy expansion throughout 2018," Ulster Bank's Ireland Chief Economist Simon Barry said.
"Positive sentiment about the year ahead is being underpinned by increased capital investments along with confidence about the prospects of the wider Irish economy more generally," Barry added.
Among the three monitored categories, commercial activity grew at the fastest pace, followed by residential activity, while civil engineering declined further.
New orders rose for the sixty sixth consecutive month in December, albeit at a slower pace than in November, thanks to better weather conditions and market activity.
Consequently, job creation quickened amid hopes of further growth in new business in 2019.
On the price front, input price inflation rose in December at a faster rate amid rising material costs.
Business confidence rebounded from a 64-month low, driven by expectations of stronger economic growth and increased capital investments.