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Ireland's Construction Sector Expands At Faster Pace

Ireland's construction activity growth accelerated in August despite a slowdown in new orders, data from IHS Markit showed Monday.

The Ulster Bank construction Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 53.7 in August from 51.4 in July. A score above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

However, there are also reasons to maintain a somewhat cautious view about the sector's near-term prospects. New orders moderated further, said Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank.

The survey showed that housing sector remained a key source of strength. There was a marked rise in commercial activity but work on civil engineering projects dropped in August.

New orders softened to the weakest since February 2015 due to delayed decision making among customers. The rate of job creation was the weakest since October 2013.

Input price inflation slowed sharply in August reflecting the weakness in sterling against the euro. Business confidence reached its lowest since November 2010.

The slippage in sentiment largely reflected worries about Brexit impacts, with some firms reporting that Brexit uncertainty is impacting work pipelines due to delayed decision making among clients, Barry noted.

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