The first Tracker of the year from Experian Business Strategies forecasts that construction growth will cool off over the next three months, but offers a sunnier outlook for 2004 as a whole
Growth in construction activity slowed in November as the activity index fell two points to 55 – three points below its recent peak in September. Slightly more than half of construction firms are reporting that activity levels are being constrained and insufficient demand remains the main constraint, as cited by 21% of respondents.

The orders index also fell in November for the second month running, although tender enquiries were up. Expectations of future tender prices, however, are very optimistic – the tender price index rose to its highest level since 1997.

Growth in the UK construction industry is expected to fall marginally over the next three months according to CFR's Leading Construction Activity Indicator. The indicator, which provides a short-term forecast of activity levels in the construction industry, is expected to fall from 54 in January to 53 in March.

According to CFR, the construction consultancy arm of Experian's business strategies division, the volume of construction output is estimated to have increased 4.5% in 2003 compared with a 2% increase in GDP. In its Winter Construction Forecasts publication, CFR predicts that the outlook for this year is a moderation in construction growth to 3%, just above GDP growth, and to 2% in 2005 before increasing more strongly in 2006 to 3%.

This an extract from the monthly focus survey of construction activity undertaken by Experian Business Strategies on behalf of the European Commission as part of its suite of harmonised EU business surveys. The full survey results and further information on Experian Business Strategies’ forecasts and services can be obtained by calling 0870-196 8263 or by visiting its website at

The survey is conducted monthly among some 800 firms throughout the United Kingdom and the analysis is broken down by size of firm, sector of the industry and region. The results are weighted to reflect the size of respondents. In addition to the results published in this extract, all of the monthly topics are available by sector, region and size of firm. In addition, quarterly questions seek information on materials costs, labour costs and work in hand.


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