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Germany's booming construction sector lifts sales forecast

Germany's booming construction sector lifts sales forecast
Construction workers prepare concrete formworks in Berlin, Germany May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke -
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Hannibal Hanschke(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s construction sector on Tuesday raised its outlook and now sees revenue growth of almost 9% in 2019, in a sign that the boom continues for one of the remaining growth drivers in Europe’s biggest economy’s as its manufacturing falters.

“We still assess our industry’s position as positive,” Reinhard Quast, the head of Germany’s ZDB construction industry group said in a statement, adding that the sector was currently the country’s number one growth driver.

ZDB lifted its revenue growth forecast in nominal terms for 2019 to 8.7% from a previously forecast 6% and sees a 5% increase in 2020.

With its sales abroad hit by trade tensions, a global slowdown and an increasingly chaotic run-up to Brexit, the bulk of Germany’s economy increasingly depends on its robust domestic spending driven by high employment and strong demand in the construction sector.

Earlier on Tuesday, Germany’s HDE retail association upheld its 2% growth outlook for the full year. This compares to a total growth rate of 0.5% Germany’s government projects for the economy in 2019, down from 1.5% in 2018.

Weaker exports sent Germany’s economy down 0.1% in the second quarter and some weak economic data since then has fuelled concerns that the economy could also shrink in the third, which would be a technical recession.

Revenues from housing construction are forecast to increase 9% this year, ZDB said, driven by fiscal incentives to help Germans acquire property and ease Germany’s housing shortage.

Business construction is expected to reach a growth rate of 7.5% as the sector is seen maintaining its high pace in the third quarter, but will lose steam in the fourth, ZDB added, as lower numbers of constructions permits point to less investment.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Michael Nienaber)

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