French construction sector recovers confidence

French construction industry managers’ confidence over future activity held up in February, according to a l’Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (Insee) report monitored by Kallanish.

More companies in the construction industry than in the previous month reported that their recent activity increased over the past three months.

While employment prospects were more favourable than in January, last month fewer construction companies than in January considered their order book to be below normal for this period of the year. Given their present staff size, current order books provide 8.3 months of work, a slight increase compared to January.

Capacity utilisation rate last month also increased after a sharp rebound in January, and stands above its long-term average. At the same time, 40% of business managers interviewed reported production bottlenecks, a share higher than January and significantly higher than its long-term average.

The balance of opinion of business manager on the future development in their prices has fallen back slightly but remains above its long-term average, the report concludes.

Domestic demand for rebar has been particularly weak in France over recent weeks. Demand from the local construction sector is said to be moody and unreliable, undermining the possibility of price increases in March, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France