French construction activity slows

Activity by companies in the French construction sector slowed month-on-month in March, according to l’Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (Insee) report monitored by Kallanish. Some responses from the sector were collected before 16 March, the date when the country’s lockdown started.

In March 2020 fewer companies than in the previous month expected an increase in their activity for the next three months. Companies said they were more pessimistic than the previous month about the prospects for future activity and the general state of the French construction industry. In March employment prospects were also deemed less favourable than in February, the report says. 

Also, fewer companies than in February considered their order-books to be well-filled. Companies still assessed their order-books as providing almost eight months of work, higher than the long-term average of 5.7 months.

The production capacity utilisation rate fell significantly in March. At the same time, 45% of companies reported production bottlenecks due to workforce shortages, a little less than the previous month.

In March fewer companies than in January announced that they will increase their prices over the next three months, the report reveals.