European construction output rose by 0.8% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU27 in November 2011, compared with the previous month, data from the European Union’s statistics office, Eurostat, shows.
Compared with November 2010, output in November 2011 increased by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU27.
Among the Member States for which data are available for November 2011, construction output rose in 11 and fell in Spain and Slovakia (both -0.7%) and Bulgaria (-0.3%). The highest increases were registered in Slovenia (+23.1%), Hungary (+7.4%) and Germany (+4.5%).
Building construction increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU27, after -1.2% and -1.1% respectively in October. Civil engineering fell by 0.6% in the euro area, but rose by 0.1% in the EU27, after -1.6% and -1.2% respectively in the previous month.
On an annual basis, construction output rose in six and fell in eight. The highest increases were registered in Romania (+16.9%), Poland (+14.7%) and Germany (+9.9%), and the largest decreases in Portugal (-12.2%), Bulgaria (-10.2%) and Slovenia (-10.0%).
With October 2011 production fell falling 1.4% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU27 on a month-on-month basis, the November figures have come as welcome news. However, recent announcements by some of the leading cement producers show that the picture for the European cement sector remains unclear.
Lafarge has recently said it plans to close its plant in Frangey, France amid the building slowdown and Holcim and earlier this week Holcim announced that as part of a CHF77m impairment charge in the 4Q11, CHF328m is due to lower utilisation rates in Spain and areas in Eastern Europe. The Swiss major noted that since the financial crisis in 2008, Spanish cement demand has fallen 65 per cent and in Eastern Europe by 30 per cent. Latest figures by Spanish cement association, Oficemen, show demand fell by 17.2 per cent to 20.2Mt compared to 24.5Mt in 2010. Cement production, meanwhile, was down 16 per cent to 22Mt and clinker output declined 14.2 per cent to 18.2Mt.