Construction Trade Survey October 2019

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Surveys of the construction supply chain during the third quarter of 2019 continued to paint a picture of slowing activity. At the beginning of the supply chain, heavy side construction product manufacturers reported a fall in sales compared to a year earlier and anticipated further declines for the quarter and year ahead. Civil engineering contractors also signalled weakness in infrastructure construction, reporting a fall in workloads and a broad decrease in new orders across sub-sectors such as water & sewerage, railways and preliminary works. Performance was more positive for SME contractors and light side product manufacturers, however. For the former, there was growth in workloads, but this was only sustained by residential work, whilst 28% of light side product manufacturers reported annual growth in sales. Looking forward, orders fell for civil engineers, but 10% of SMEs, on balance, reported an increase in enquiries in Q3, although this was the lowest balance in three years and increases were concentrated in sectors, where prospects hinge on how consumer and business confidence develop in line with continued Brexit and election uncertainty.

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