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EU construction rises for first time in 6 months

The amount of construction work taking place across the European Union has risen for the first time in six months

Data from EU statistical office Eurostat showed that seasonally adjusted production across the 27 member states was 0.9 per cent higher in April than in March.

This follows five months of shrinking workloads, which took construction output to a 16-year low.

It was a minor rise, however, and kept construction levels almost 6 per cent lower than in April 2012, and about 20 per cent below the pre-downturn month of April 2008.

It was a mixed picture across the EU, with increases in construction work in eight of the countries with data available for April, and decreases in seven.

Germany saw the greatest monthly rise, at 6.7 per cent; followed by Portugal at 5.9 per cent; and Italy at 5.5 per cent.

Poland saw the biggest monthly drop in output, at 5.2 per cent; then Romania at 3.7 per cent; and Spain at 3.1 per cent.

Poland’s output was a whopping 25 per cent lower than in the same month the previous year, perhaps reflecting the comedown from hosting Euro 2012.

The hard-hit Iberian markets continued to suffer, with Portugal down 24 per cent in a year, and Spain down 15 per cent.

Buildings work rose by just 0.7 per cent across the EU from March, with civils work up 0.8 per cent.

Joshua Miller, senior economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, told AJ last month that it could be 18 months before any significant growth was seen in EU construction output.

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