Cost inflation persisted across the supply chain and three storms that brought heavy rainfall across the country between 16 to 21 February affected construction projects on site. 43% of heavy side firms and half of light side firms reported a quarterly rise in sales in Q1, up from balances of 31% and 22% respectively, in Q4. While demand levels in private housing and private housing RM&I have been sustained by the ‘race for space’ and major infrastructure projects continue to make progress, commercial has also gained from fit-out, refurbishments and changes in use activity. Despite economic headwinds, 80% of heavy side and 77% of light side firms anticipated a rise in sales over the next 12 months, the joint-highest balances in nearly eight and seven years respectively.
As global supply chain issues and inflationary pressures were further exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, all firms cited annual rises in costs. Upward pressure came from a range of inputs, notably energy and raw materials with all firms reporting increases in the cost of both. With cost pressures set to continue in the next 12 months, investment intentions balances across most categories on the heavy side came in lower than Q4.
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