German construction slowed in February following January’s success
According to findings from the IHS Markit Germany’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI), the nation’s construction activity dropped to 52.7 last month.
This follows the success of an 82-month high reading on the index in January, reaching 59.8.
February’s drop was the lowest in 13 months, yet as it remained above neutral level (50), it continued Germany’s more than three-year continuance of growth.
“January’s spike in construction growth was helped by the unusually mild start to the year, so it was little surprise to see the sector retreat in February as winter weather conditions returned,” commented Phil Smith, IHS Markit Principle Economist.
“At 52.7, the seasonally adjusted PMI was the lowest seen for 13 months, but the underlying trend remained strongly positive, and so did many of the survey’s other indicators.”
“New order growth remained buoyant after having hit its highest for at least 18 years in January, meaning there was sharply rising demand for materials among constructors.”
“Growth looks set to continue in the months ahead, with the survey’s measure of business confidence at its second-highest level since 1999.”
Employment expanded in February as firms aimed to meet rising activity, but at the lowest rate in 12-months.
Last month also saw a surge in the cost of building materials and products, reaching a four month inflation high.
Henry Boot, Factory form joint venture with £1bn scheme
The property development business of Henry Boot (HBD) has announced it has formed a joint venture with international tech campus developer Factory as part of a £1bn scheme known as the Golden Valley Development.
Called HBD X Factory, the joint venture has been chosen to deliver the first phase of the scheme based in Cheltenham, which aims to focus on the development of technology in the UK. Centered around cyber and digital innovation, the development will include 3,700 new homes and 2mn sq ft of commercial space. Phase 1 aims to accommodate 111 acres of the scheme and will be located close to Factory’s first UK tech building near GCHQ.
Confirming the UK as a leader in cybersecurity
Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said the £1bn development would help confirm the UK’s position as a leader in cybersecurity: “We are investing to help cyber-security businesses across the country tackle barriers to growth and boost people’s digital skills so we can usher in a golden age in UK tech.”
Commenting on the partnership, HBD Managing Director Ed Hutchinson said: “The HBD X Factory partnership reflects our focus on delivering large-scale, transformative regeneration projects – the Golden Valley Development is a hugely important project for Cheltenham, the South West region and the wider UK tech sector and we look forward to working alongside Factory to bring the scheme forward.”
It is expected that Client Cheltenham Borough Council will submit a planning application for the site in 2022 with Tewksbury Borough Council as a partner. Discussing future plans for the partnership, Henry Boot said the new JV would “focus on developing large-scale mixed-use districts and urban regeneration projects.”
Image: Henry Boot