According to data published by Eurostat this morning, when compared with July 2007, construction output in July 2008 dropped by 3.3% in the euro area and by 1.5% in the EU27. Among the Member States for which data are available for July 2008, construction output rose in ten and fell in three. The highest increases were recorded in Eastern Europe, where the boom to some extent continues, with Romania still rising strongly (+28.4%), together with Slovenia (+17.9%), Bulgaria (+16.4%) and Poland ( 16.1%). Decreases were registered in three countries, with the largest being in Spain (-15.9%), followed by the UK (-2.7), Germany (-2.3%) and then Portugal (-1.4%). We should note that there is no data for Denmark, Ireland and Greece, although output almost certainly contracted in all three. Building construction was down by 3.3% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU27, following declines of 3.2% and 1.5% respectively in June. Civil engineering fell by 4.0% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU27.
Obviously Spain's performance comes as no special surprise, although the month on month reading - a contraction of only 0.7% compared with June (following a monthly contraction of 3.4%) - is perhaps surprising, even if it should not be taken as indicating any special change in trend, since the worst we can be pretty sure lies ahead of us and not behind us.
The Number Of Unpaid Bills Of Exchange Continues To Rise
The number of unpaid bills of exchange increased by 47.7% in July when compared with the same month in 2007. 5.2% of the total number of expired bills remained unpaid. In July, the number of returned unpaid bills of exchange was 618,133, and this was a year on year increase of 47.7%. The value of these unpaid bills hit 2,072 million euros, making for a 121.5% increase when compared with July 2007. So the pressure is making itself felt across the board now.
Spain's Services Activity Contracts Slightly In July
On the other hand services activity did possibly better than might have been expected, all things being considered (the slowdown in the UK, travel costs etc), and year on year activity was only down 0.2% (according to INE data), although this does, of course mean that it is more than likely that Spanish GDP was actually declining in July, since services is the sector which is possibly doing least badly at the moment.
Spain Real Time Data Charts
Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Spain related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Spain charts with short updates on a Storify dedicated page Spain's Economic Recovery - Glass Half Full or Glass Half Empty?