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European Construction Drops, Led by Spain

Source: Bloomberg - Thu 17th Jun 2010

European construction output decreased in April, led by declines in Spain and Portugal.

Construction in the 16-nation euro region dropped 0.3 percent from March, when it jumped a revised 6.5 percent, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said today. From a year earlier, April output fell 6.1 percent after dropping 6 percent in March.

Builders across Europe have been hit by the collapse in property markets from Spain to Ireland. Standard & Poor's economist Jean-Michel Six said on June 1 that the European housing market remains overvalued, with the possibility of a "second dip." He said he remains "fairly pessimistic" on the home market in Spain, where the collapse of a decade-long housing boom has sparked an almost two-year recession.

Construction in Spain fell 4.9 percent in April from the previous month, today's report showed. Portugal's output declined 3.7 percent, while construction in Germany, Europe's largest economy, increased 2.6 percent in April.

France saw a 2.2 percent drop in its construction output. Vinci SA, the world's largest builder, said last month that "harsh" weather in the U.S. and Europe caused a 6.8 percent drop in first-quarter sales.

The euro was little changed against the dollar after the data, trading at $1.2333 at 10:05 a.m. in London, up 0.2 percent on the day.

The March increase in euro-area construction was revised to 6.5 percent from the 7.6 percent estimate reported last month. That was the biggest gain in 14 years.

For the EU as a whole, construction was flat in April compared with the prior month and fell 4.3 percent from a year earlier.

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