Dark clouds on the horizon?

Economic Week In Review | Issue 340 | 1 August 2022

Materials and commodities

  • Gas | The EU (except Hungary) has agreed a plan to ration gas use which will reduce overall use over winter by 15% however some have argued that a blanket reduction is unfair.
  • Ibstock | The brick manufacturer reported increased profits in the first half of the year despite rising costs.
  • Availability | The CLC stated that general product availability is improving (with the exception of Northern Ireland) and that high inflation levels have stabilised. Demand is softening but this is unlikely to result in lower project costs in the short term. It also warned of energy costs and that some firms are seeing day-to-day electricity costs fluctuate by up to 300%.

UK construction and property

  • Output forecasts | The CPA expects construction output to grow 2.5% in 2022 and 1.6% in 2023 with strong growth in warehouses and infrastructure offsetting falls in private housing repair.
  • EPC | A third of multi-let sheds in London and the South East and almost half in the rest of the UK will need to be improved to keep up with sustainability requirements over the next five years, according to research by Gerald Eve.
  • Flexible working | Four major contractors took part in a study to measure the effects of a flexible working pilot scheme. It found that one-day sickness fell significantly and enhanced performance, encouraging the employers to extend the scheme.
  • Anti-collusion | The National Federation of Demolition Contractors is hoping to restore trust in the sector after the CMA collusion findings. It aims to make firms sign an anti-collusion declaration.
  • Infrastructure | MPs have urged the government to review its plans for investment into northern rail, saying that alternative options have not been properly explored and a full cost-benefit analysis of different options should be done.
  • Register | After initially being announced by David Cameron in 2016, a new register highlighting the ultimate owners of overseas companies who control land in the UK will be launched today. It will require anonymous foreign owners of UK land and property to reveal their identities to ensure that criminals cannot hide behind chains of shell companies. The National Crime Agency estimates that £100bn of money is channelled through such systems.

UK economy

  • Strikes | Industrial action could shut down Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port. 92% of unionised workers voted for a strike with an 81% turnout. The Hong Kong based owners, CK Hutchison had offered a 5% pay rise and a £500 cash bonus.
  • Debt | Credit card borrowing rose at its fastest rate in 17 years. Consumer credit also increased at the fastest rate in three years with car dealership finance, personal loans and other consumer credit all contributing.
  • Bank of England | The Monetary Policy Committee will meet on Thursday. Commentators have voiced concerns that it might increase interest rates by 0.5%, the sharpest increase in rates in 25 years after rates in the US were increased to 2.25%-2.50%

Global economy

  • Eurozone inflation reached 8.9% in July, up from 8.6% in June. The increase was led by aexc rise in the price of gas. Food, alcohol and tobacco prices increased 9.8% in the year.
  • Eurozone growth | GDP across the Eurozone grew by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2022, more than the 0.2% expected by economists. GDP in Italy and France grew 1% and 0.5%, but Germany’s economy was flat after growing 0.2% in Q1. ING economics suggested that the escalating energy crisis is the single largest risk to an already downbeat outlook for Germany’s economy.
  • China | China Construction Bank and the People’s Bank of China will inject £9.8bn into a new fund to help shore up more than 12 property companies. It aims to restart stalled projects by buying developers’ bonds, issuing loans and buying shares.
Tender Price Index

Published every six months, our Tender Price Index is an analysis of inflation price deviation in construction prices. Click on the link above to view our most recent Index.

Friday to Friday

Price / Index Week %
change
Annual %
change
FTSE 100 7,423.43 0.64 5.56
FTSE 250 20,164.90 1.72 -12.13
Nikkei 27,801.64 -0.40 1.90
CSI 300 4,170.10 -1.61 -13.32
S&P 500 4,130.29 4.26 -6.03
Nasdaq 12,390.69 4.70 -15.55
CAC 40 6,448.50 3.73 -2.48
Dax 13,484.05 1.74 -13.25
$ per £ 1.2185 1.38 -12.41
€ per £ 1.1945 1.61 1.88
Gold £/oz 1,450.34 0.81 11.61
Brent Oil $/barrel 110.01 6.07 44.12

Weekly Summary

There seems to be stability or some form of settling in a lot of sectors of the economy, albeit with some dark clouds and significant unknowns on the horizon. The threat of industrial action and delays to material manufacturing or delivery as a result of higher costs or disrupted supply chains is significant and remains difficult to forecast. Yet, it is positive that the CLC has seen greater availability of products and the CPA forecasts continued construction growth.

Author contact

Rachel Coleman
Rachel Coleman,
Associate Research Analyst

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