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EU construction levels on the up

EU construction levels have risen for a fourth consecutive month

Data from EU statistical office Eurostat showed building work was 0.7 per cent higher in July than in June. Output has been gradually edging up since March – the longest period of consistent growth since mid-2006.

As such, although the overall improvement is small, the underlying trend could be significant.

In an added boost for architects, buildings work – discounting civil engineering – increased by 1.3 per cent in July.

However, the picture varies greatly by country. For example, while Portugal saw a 5.1 per cent hike in output in July, neighbour Spain saw a 1.6 per cent fall.

Similarly, Romania saw an 8.6 per cent increase in construction work while Hungary suffered a 1.6 per cent decline.

In a sobering reminder of how far the industry has fallen, output across the EU remained 1.1 per cent lower in July 2013 than in the same month a year earlier.

Of the 14 countries for which data on July 2013 was available, Portugal had seen by far the largest decline in the last 12 months.

Portugal’s construction output was 16.3 per cent lower than a year earlier, while Romania enjoyed the best annual comparison, with 14.2 per cent growth.

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