New construction orders show little sign of encouragement

Orders for private commercial projects for the year to March 2007 were 21% higher than the previous year and 2% higher than the previous quarter. However, future prospects are less good, with a 10% fall in orders compared to the same period a year earlier. The figures are compiled by the Department of Trade & Industry; all orders are seasonally adjusted and in constant (2000) prices. The public-housing and housing-association sectors showed substantial growth, though DTI points out that comparisons in this sector are affected by large variations due to its relatively small size. Year-on-year orders grew by 26%. They were 20% higher than the previous quarter and 27% higher than the corresponding quarter a year earlier. Private-industrial orders continue to decline. They were down by 6% over the previous year, 4% down compared with the previous quarter and by 11% compared with the same period a year earlier. Private-housing orders show a hint of recovery with orders for the three months to March 2007 being 1% higher than the corresponding period a year earlier. However, the year-on-year figure was down by 2% and also by 8% over the previous quarter.

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