Economics: Irish construction PMI falls to 58.4 in June from 61.8 in May

Expansion of activity in the Irish construction sector eased in June from “extremely elevated” levels recorded in the previous month, according to Ulster Bank.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 58.4 in June from 61.8 in May, with total activity in the sector having risen in each of the past 58 months. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The index reading for housing activity dipped on the month to 60.4 from 65.2, while commercial activity declined to 62.0 from 65.6.

Employment increased again in June, extending the current sequence of job creation to 58 months. Moreover, the pace at which staffing levels rose was faster than in the previous month, with respondents to the latest monthly survey indicating that increased demand led them to take on extra staff.

Confidence among construction firms regarding the 12-month outlook for activity dipped to a six-month low in June, but remained high. Close to 55% of respondents predict activity to rise over the coming year, reflecting expectations of improving economic conditions and new order growth.

Economics: Latest Irish motor industry data to show new cars licensed down year-on-year in June

Later this morning the Central Statistics Office will release official figures for new cars licensed in June. The number of new cars licensed for the first time dropped again in May, while the number of imports jumped by 14.1% as buyers continued to take advantage of a weaker sterling.

There was a total of 9,362 new private cars licensed in the month, down 2.3% compared with the same time last year. Meanwhile, the number of used or imported private cars licensed increased by over 14% to 8,822.

In the first five months of 2018, a total of 79,321 new private cars were licensed, down 5.3% compared with the same time last year. Against that, the number of used private cars licensed rose by 11.5% compared with the same period in 2017 to 42,199.

An annual decrease of 6.0% in new cars licensed is expected for 2018 as a whole. As regards June, a year-on-year fall of 10.5% in new cars licensed is projected based on SIMI data for the month.

Alan McQuaid (9/7/18)
Economist