The Global Construction Newsletter for January to March 2022:

Compass International – The Global Construction Newsletter for January to March 2022:

Executive Summary:

It looks like 2022 will be a challenging year for the global construction industry. In the USA, construction activity in 2022 will strengthen 3% to 5% over 2021 levels if the latest pandemic strain can be contained.

The global construction industry is on the road to recovery (to pre-pandemic levels), however, it could take 6 to 12 months to see a full recovery. Several potential challenges could disrupt this recovery.

The construction material price spikes we have seen in the last 6 to 9 months are starting to stabilize, and in some cases, decline. However, rising inflation construction materials are averaging 10% to 15% higher than pre-pandemic pricing levels.

Delivery times of construction materials such as windows, doors, metal framing/studs, roofing, process pipe fittings, and plumbing fixtures remain a problem. Items that took 4 to 6 weeks to be delivered to the site now can take 8 to 12 weeks or longer in some cases. These delays are causing setbacks and increasing costs to contractors. Pent-up demand has caused huge price spikes to steel, copper, and OSB plywood/lumber products.

Look for growth, particularly in the oil/refinery, energy petro-chemical / industrial construction sector in 2022. Some economists are forecasting $125 for a barrel of crude oil which could increase energy/petrol/gasoline prices by 50%. Increased energy costs could significantly drive-up construction labor, material, and in-direct prices in 2022.

There is a new COVID-19 strain, first encountered in South Africa, and in just three weeks, it has become the dominant strain there. Called OMICRON, it is now in 75 + countries, showing up in North and South America, the rest of Africa, Europe, and Asia. OMICRON will impact construction in 2022, as Europe and North America feel the effects of this new strain.

The COVID virus and the new strain, OMICRON, remain a large problem around the world. COVID-19 has seen close to 280 million confirmed cases and more than 5 million deaths. The USA alone has experienced over 820,000 deaths. The world’s population is 8 billion, and only 4.1 billion, or 52%, have received their vaccine. It could take months/years to fully recover from COVID/OMICRON, and we still have a long way to go.

We are starting to see signs the COVID-19 epidemic is weakening. Substantial headway has been made with the vaccine rollout, and it appears that North America’s economic recovery could be achieved in the next 3 to 6 months. However, we are not out of the woods yet. A COVID third wave could bring on an economic recession in the fourth quarter of 2021. The construction sector continues to face headwinds as we transition into 2022.

  • Residential/Housing should experience a good 2022; perhaps not as robust as the tremendous growth in 2021 that saw more than 1 to 1.2 million new homes built, which hasn’t been seen for more than 15 years.
  • Commercial/Institutional construction, offices, hotels, logistic/warehouses, airports, and the like should experience a decent year in 2022, assuming the worst of COVID/OMICRON is behind us.
  • Infrastructure and renewable energy work look to be well set for future government investment.
  • Manufacturing, Food, and Pharmaceutical related construction are expected to see reasonable growth in 2022.
  • The recent jump in oil and gas prices is good news for Engineering firms and Contractors. Oil, gas, and petrochemical construction is forecasted to have a positive growth period for the next several years, even with the recent cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline by the Biden Administration. The number of United States drilling rigs has increased by more than 25% across all oil and gas basins in the last 12 weeks.

 

Industrial Construction projects have seen a significant loss of worker productivity due to COVID mitigation programs.

These projects will take longer to accomplish; for example, a typical 12-month construction schedule will take anywhere from 14 to 15 months to complete post-COVID-19.

As we continue to transition into 2022, we are moving into a new “normal” that still needs to be fully understood. We continue to believe COVID will have a significant impact on how Construction Projects are bid, procured, and executed in the foreseeable future.

Current world political and economic risks/headwinds facing the Global Construction Industry include:

  • A third and fourth virulent wave of COVID/OMICRON pandemic in Europe, North America, and other regions have begun.
  • Surging inflation around the world. Inflation is increasing in almost every country and could be a problem for the construction sector. Increased construction labor/material costs and shortages of essential construction materials remain a problem.
  • Construction material supply chain issues are causing price spikes, shortages, and delivery delays.
  • The ongoing confrontational stance of China with India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, the USA, and the countries bordering the South China Sea.
  • The possibility of an all-out trade war between China and the USA is still a possibility.
  • Political problems include the Ukraine and Russia standoff.
  • China’s real estate house of cards could be brought down by real estate company Evergrande, the world’s most indebted company. This could send ripples throughout the global financial market.
  • Higher oil prices. The USA gasoline pump prices have increased by 40% in the last 3 months.
  • There remains a possibility of a prolonged Global Recession in the next 6 to 12 months

 

If the effects of the COVID/OMICRON virus can diminish in 2022, the theory is that the sky-high inflation rates we are currently experiencing will start to moderate, and key construction materials will start to trend downwards.

If the majority of these concerns can be resolved or put to rest, then the Global Construction Industry has an excellent chance to grow and prosper in the next 3 to 5 years, particularly in some of the second and third world developing economies of Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America. However, the current global war on COVID needs to be won before this can be realized and this could take another year or two before this happens.

 

THINGS WE WILL SEE IN THE 1st Q OF 2022:

 

USA, CANADA, and MEXICO are forecasted to see between 3.5% & 4.7% GDP growth in 2022.

It looks like there will be more infrastructure projects in the USA in 2022. Unfortunately, The USA has seen more than 820,000 + related deaths from the pandemic.

Escalation in the USA is more than 7%, Canada is seeing an 18 year high at close to 5%, and Mexico is seeing 7% – a 20 year high. This could be a problem in 2022.

The USA, Canada, and Mexico are gradually recovering from the pandemic. The impact of the new COVID-19/OMICRON strain on the construction sector has yet to be determined.

In the USA, research of the impact of COVID-19 to project budgets and schedules related to industrial plant developments indicate that costs will increase by 5% to 15% from pre-COVID-19 levels.

  • Lumber/Plywood/OSB in some cases increased by 100%. The outlook for 2022 is positive, and we expect current pricing levels to trend downwards.
  • Concrete (Ready Mix) + 3.5% in the last 12 weeks.
  • Formwork + 10% to 15% in the last 12 weeks.
  • Bricks/Concrete Blocks + 5% in the last 15 weeks.
  • Pipe & Fittings (CS/SS) + 1% to 20% in the last 3 months.
  • PVC Pipe and Fittings + 3% in the last 10 weeks.
  • Concrete blocks and bricks increased by as much as 10%.
  • Structural steel and rebar increased by as much as 65%, and prices are trending downward; however, these steel products remain volatile.
  • Copper cable and piping jumped as much as 45%, but these products are now trending downwards.
  • Roofing Products and Windows have risen by as much as 15% in the last 12 months.
  • Paint/Coating Products have increased by 12% in the last 12 months.
  • Windows now take up to 12 to 18 weeks to deliver to site, up from 6 weeks. Delivery in the USA and Canada is a big problem; (for example, a $3 million window order for a large hotel project) contractors cannot close up buildings to perform painting/flooring and finishes due to difficult weather conditions.

 

There are indications that the COVID-19 epidemic is starting to wane, but we are not out of the woods yet. A third COVID/OMICRON wave is a distinct possibility in the USA, Mexican states, and Canadian provinces.

A full US economic recovery will take at least 6 to 12 months to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. The good news is that the USA, Canada, and Mexican economies are starting to see growth as we move into the first quarter of 2022.

The majority of Refinery, Power, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Food Production, and Owner related companies include clauses or contractual language in their construction contracts. Requests for Proposal (RFP’s) minimize the spread of COVID-19 within their production sites/campuses. Most of these contractual requirements will impact construction productivity.

Unfortunately, COVID/OMICRON has put a lot of small/mid-sized A/E’s, contractors, sub-contractors, and vendors out of business. Cash flow problems and lack of work are the reasons for this situation.

 

The Canadian economy and construction sector were severely impacted by the pandemic; this and low oil demand and deteriorating prices. However, the recent spike in oil prices is somewhat good news for the Canadian oil patch. The pandemic will hopefully fade away in the next 6 to 12 months, Canada is currently experiencing a housing boom, and the rest of the construction sector will remain flat for the next 3 to 9 months.

 

Mexico has seen over 4 million confirmed COVID cases and more than 300,000 related deaths due to the virus, but a recent report indicated the number of deaths is closer to 400,000. Like its two northern neighbors, the Mexican economy and construction sector struggled with the pandemic. A sustained economic recovery will take anywhere from 6 months to 12 months to achieve.

 

Western and Eastern Europe is forecast to see minimal or negative GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022.

The impact of the new COVID-19/OMICRON strain on the construction sector has yet to be determined. The construction sector in Europe has been severely impacted over the last 2 years, and many countries are seeing shutdowns and other mitigation measures. Some countries are experiencing their third or fourth wave.

Germany, France, the UK, and most other countries still face major challenges as we move into the first quarter of 2022

 

The protracted and disorganized rollout of vaccinations remains a serious problem in many European countries.

Escalation is surging in some northern European countries. Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Poland are seeing rates (in November) ranging between 5% & 10%. Energy prices have risen by almost 25% in the last 3 months, and the cold winter months are still upon these countries.

The ongoing Brexit trade “spat” will continue to impact European construction until it is resolved. The UK and European Union continue to squabble over the terms and conditions of the so-called agreement, and several industry experts believe the UK will benefit at the expense of both France and Germany.

The COVID-19 virus has negatively impacted the construction sectors of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. The latest thinking is that these construction sectors will improve in the first half of 2022.

 

Construction work has now gradually resumed on many construction sites across Europe. Industrial construction worker productivity is forecasted to be reduced due to mandated social distancing and new safety rules.

 

In the UK, the housing sector is expected to weather the COVID-19 storm, however, new retail construction, hotels, and office construction will be in the doldrums for at least the next 12 to 18 months. Germany, France, and Italy are expected to see a similar situation.

Several European construction-related organizations are looking for future government-funded infrastructure investments in the next couple of months to help weather the downturn brought on by the pandemic.

Many large and mid-sized European construction-related organizations have reduced home office staff and site-based positions. The current view is that this could amount to between 15% and 25% of current staff levels.

Sweden has been the only major European country not to impose a shutdown or social distancing. Worker absence has been somewhat higher and delays of various construction materials have caused some delays, however, at most, it has been a minor nuisance at a few construction sites. Recent reports from Sweden suggest that lockdowns and social distancing should have been introduced like the majority of other countries.

The European construction sector has a reasonable chance to grow and succeed in the next 6 to 12 months and return to pre-COVID/OMICRON levels if the vaccination program can be rapidly implemented to its 350 million citizens.

 

Asia (Asian countries are projected to see 4.5% to 6.5% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022)

It looks like 2022 will be a challenging year for the Asian construction industry. The impact of the new COVID-19/OMICRON strain on the construction sector has yet to be fully determined.

India has seen more than 35 million confirmed cases of the pandemic and experienced close to .50 million fatalities.

Escalation/Inflation is increasing in Asia. India is up to 12.5%, and Pakistan stands at 11.5%. The Philippines and Sri Lanka are both reporting 9.9% inflation rates.

Asia Pacific: China, South Korea, Malaysia, and India are set to rebound in 2022, assuming the pandemic is under control.

We see positive signs that the COVID-19 epidemic is declining in most Asian countries. China’s economy and construction sector have recovered quickly, and rigorous lockdowns and population tracing policies prevented the spread of the virus. The Chinese government also funded billions of dollars on future infrastructure projects.

China’s factories and production facilities are back in business as we transition into 2022. The Chinese economy and construction sector have experienced a growth spurt in the last 3 months. However, this growth has started to slow down in the last 4 to 8 weeks.

China’s real estate house of cards could be brought down by real estate firm Evergrande defaulting on its debt. Evergrande is the world’s most indebted company, and this could send ripples throughout the global financial market.

Hong Kong may well present future challenges to China once the pandemic has been resolved. Social unrest does not appear to be waning. China has changed the “one country, two systems” approach, which could result in mass demonstrations and could stymie future construction and economic activity.

India now ranks #5 in the economy league table, larger than both the UK and France. Look for 2022 GDP to be between 7% & 8% once the virus is fully contained, which could take another 6 months.

In general, the Asian construction sector dealt well with the effects of the pandemic and is currently set to get beyond the last eighteen difficult months. Most countries are starting to move forward again as we transition into 2022.

Japan has weathered the pandemic reasonably well, with just over 1,730,000 confirmed cases and close to 18,300 deaths. Japan’s construction sector is forecast to see minimal growth going forward.

 

Vietnam successfully handled the pandemic crisis, with very few confirmed cases. Construction work never stopped during COVID-19, but there has been a significant spike in confirmed cases in the last 6 weeks.

Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Laos have all had COVID-19 issues, but it appears they are dealing with the COVID/OMICRON crisis relatively well. COVID-19 will regrettably impede some Asian economies and construction sectors somewhat in 2022, but recent indications from this region of the world are that the construction sector is starting to see some significant improvements.

 

Africa: African nations are set to see minimal, or in some cases, negative GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022.

 

Africa contains hundreds of millions of citizens that have not yet been vaccinated; this is a significant issue that still needs to be resolved.

The effect of the new OMICRON strain on the African construction sector has yet to be determined.

It looks like 2022 will be a challenging year for the African construction sector. The size of the African construction sector is in the USA $5 to $7.5 billion range. Look for this value to grow by 5% per year if and when the current pandemic is resolved.

Unfortunately, the African continent is still inundated with the COVID / OMICRON pandemic that will take at least 6 to 12 months to solve.

The two largest economies in Africa, South Africa and Nigeria, have been hard hit by COVID/OMICRON. South Africa has seen 3.4 + million confirmed cases of COVID and more than 90,000 deaths. Nigeria has seen close to 235,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

The lengthy and shambolic rollout of vaccinations is a severe problem in many African nations that could take months to fully implement. Nevertheless, we are starting to see some positive signs the pandemic is starting to lessen. Many challenges will remain in the next 3 to 6 months.

South Africa is seeing a troubling new form of the COVID/OMICRON virus which appears to be highly contagious. Many governments have banned travelers from South Africa from entering the country.

Unfortunately, some countries in Africa lack the basic equipment or even trained health workers to respond to the COVID challenge, so the numbers of COVID cases could be questionable.

 

The African construction sector is dealing with the effects of COVID/OMICRON and is presently lessening the impact. Some countries never stopped construction activities and others completely closed down, but construction activity in most countries is starting to slowly move forward again as we transition into 2022.

Other countries, such as Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya, have been hard-hit and their construction sectors will labor to move ahead in 2022. There are concerns that future lockdowns will bring considerable suffering for Africa’s deprived citizens who lack basic services, are without regular employment, and lack basic medical facilities to fall back on.

 

Russia: Russia is forecasted to see negative GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022.

2022 will be a challenging year for the Russian construction sector. The effects of the new OMICRON strain on the construction sector have yet to be fully understood.

Russia is currently experiencing high inflation rates, between 7% and 9%. This could lead to higher construction costs or projects getting canceled in 2022.

The continuing Russia/Ukraine dispute could turn into a conflict in 2022. It could present a problem to the European construction sectors, and gas supplies from Russia to Europe could be curtailed.

Russia has seen close to 10.4 million COVID cases and more than 300,000 casualties to the virus. The lengthy distribution of the Russian vaccinations program appears to have been solved.

Russia announced in August 2020 that it had produced a COVID-19 vaccine (Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine, reported to be 95% effective). This vaccine went into production in September 2020, and Russia has been successful in selling this vaccine to several countries around the world, including Argentina, Belarus, and many others.

The COVID/OMICRON virus has been responsible for up to 40% to 60% of ongoing construction projects being shut down or delayed. The projects that have continued to work have imposed rigorous safety and travel restrictions. The COVID/OMICRON virus will influence future CAPEX projects and some projects will be canceled.

Russia also continues to be vulnerable to the USA and Western European economic sanctions that will continue to suppress construction activity.

Oil prices have increased by more than 35% in the last 3 months. This is great news for the Russian economy and construction sectors.

 

South America: South America is predicted to see minimal GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022.

It appears 2022 will be a challenging year for the South American construction industry. The impact of the new OMICRON strain on the construction sector has yet to be determined as we move into 2022.

Brazil has seen 23 million confirmed cases of COVID and more than 625,000 deaths. Other South American countries, including Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, have struggled with the impact of COVID/OMICRON. The pandemic appears to be getting worse in some South American countries. Brazil is seeing more than 3,000 COVID/OMICRON-related deaths each day.

Brazil’s inflation was 10.5% in November, the largest increase in 20 years. Chile, Peru, and Argentina are experiencing higher inflation as we move into 2022, and unfortunately, this will impact construction costs.

South America has hundreds of millions of citizens that have not been vaccinated. This is a serious problem that still needs to be undertaken.

South American construction activity and projects have, for the most part, gradually started to resume again. Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Paraguay have unfortunately been severely impacted by the pandemic. In Brazil, construction work did not stop, however, each region dealt with the crisis in different ways.

The pandemic appears to be getting worse in some South American countries. Brazil is seeing more than 3,000 COVID/Omicron related deaths each day,

Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and other South American nations have been hard hit in the last 12 months with the COVID pandemic, and it could take more than 6 months until some relief is experienced.

COVID/OMICRON in South America will be prevalent for at least the next 6 to 12 months, and it will hopefully slowly start to fade into the background by the end of 2021. The long, drawn-out, and disjointed rollout of vaccination programs is a serious challenge in many South American countries that could take more than 6 months to see positive results.

The jury is still out on the global economic impact of the COVID/OMICRON pandemic. Six months from now, we may have a clearer understanding of how we get past this event and how it impacts the construction sectors of all the South American countries.

 

Middle East: The Middle East countries will see nominal GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022. 

2021 was unquestionably a taxing year for the Middle East construction sector.

The first quarter of 2022 will be a difficult quarter for the Middle East construction industry. The Middle East showed some improvement in mitigating the COVID virus, however, it continues to be a significant problem. Unfortunately, OMICON showed up in December. The impact of the new OMICRON strain on the Middle East construction sector has yet to be determined as we move into the first quarter of 2022.

Look for growth, particularly in the oil/refinery, energy petro-chemical/industrial construction sector in 2022. Some economists are forecasting $125 a barrel of crude oil which could increase energy/petro/gasoline prices by 50%.

 

The pandemic has caused uncertainty in the Middle East economies, and construction has seen labor shortages and travel restrictions on third-world construction labor resources.

2022 will hopefully see a gradual revival, with some countries faring better than others. The impact of the pandemic in the Middle East will still be around for the next 3 to 6 months. The Middle East construction sector is still dealing with the aftereffects of COVID-19 and is currently trying to lessen the problem.

Taking on new personnel, staff, and construction workers from other countries remains a major challenge in many countries. Some countries are requesting workers from other countries to be quarantined for 14 days; the cost and logistics of this are significant. Delays in procurement and buyout of materials and equipment from countries such as China, Italy, France, and the USA and the associated costs of mitigating these delays remain a problem. Extremely exacting safety measures have been introduced, which will increase costs and negatively impact construction productivity. Many migrant construction workers returned to their home countries and are experiencing difficulties returning to the Middle East.

The rising price and demand for oil could be a great boost for Middle East countries that could benefit future Oil and Gas construction projects.

Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are all in the same boat as many other countries. These countries are announcing new hygiene, travel restrictions, procedures, and protocols as the number of Coronavirus infections keep ramping up.

However, there is light at the end of the COVID tunnel. We see signs the COVID-19 epidemic is weakening in some Middle East countries, but unfortunately, the OMICRON strain showed up in December.

 

Australia and New Zealand: Australia and New Zealand combined will see 2.5% to 3.7% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022.

The latest OMICRON strain on the Australia and New Zealand construction sector has yet to be determined; it might take several months to see what the fallout is on the issue. It looks like 2022 will be a challenging year for the Australian and New Zealand construction industry.

Australia has fared well with the pandemic; 285,000 confirmed cases have been reported and close to 2,200 deaths. Australia and New Zealand, because of their remote location, have weathered the COVID pandemic remarkably well.

Construction is one of the top five industries in Australia and represents approximately 10% of the country’s annual GDP. The value of construction work each year is in the $350 to $400 million range, and the industry employs between 1 and 1.25 million individuals.

Australia’s economic relationship with China has seriously cooled down in the last 6 months. This issue is related to China’s South China Sea territorial claims that Australia is criticizing. The dispute will impact Australian mineral exports and future mining-related projects.

The recently announced AUKUSA nuclear submarine deal has upset China. While still in its early days for the AUKUS program, the pact will bring several technological benefits to Australia.

Procuring overseas construction materials has sent the cost of imported lumber, plywood, copper, rebar, and other materials skyrocketing in both Australia and New Zealand. Some of these price spikes are beginning to moderate in the last 2 months.

Contractors are experiencing material shortages. Delivery times on construction materials have increased from a normal 2 to 4 weeks to 6 to 20 weeks to arrive at the site.

We do expect a gradual and steady economic upturn as we transition into the second quarter of 2022; with the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases significantly declining and travel restrictions are lifted.

Australia is experiencing a housing/apartment/home remodeling surge similar to what the USA and Canada are undergoing.

COVID-19 has hindered CAPEX spending and delayed current construction projects in both countries. Australia and New Zealand, in their two centuries of existence, have never experienced an economic tsunami/earthquake of this scale. The New Zealand government is preparing to invest considerable funds in infrastructure and public works projects to minimize current and future unemployment.

New Zealand has coped well with the pandemic, with only 14,000 confirmed cases and 50 deaths.

 

First Quarter of 2022 Construction Outlook for Major Countries:

Countries

1st Q 2022 % GDP Growth

1st Q 2022 Inflation %

1st Q 2022 Unemployment %

Comments on Construction in 1st Q of 2022

Future Spending Activity

USA

4.7

5.9

4.3

The impact of the new OMICRON strain on the US construction sector has yet to play out; it could be a major problem, or it could be history next month. Escalated construction materials prices are a major issue, brought on by pent-up demand after the Covid slowdown and the current US housing boom. Oil and Gas Owners/Operating Companies are taking a second look at their 2022 CAPEX budgets with the recent rise in oil prices. Several CAPEX-related Petro-Chemical, Energy, and Power projects could move forward in the fourth quarter of 2021. The US construction sector tries to come to terms with the pandemic and the new normal.

CANADA

4.1

4.5

5.9

The latest OMICRON strain on the Canadian construction sector has yet to be determined. Escalation is increasing in just about all countries, including Canada. This could be a serious problem for the construction sector. The construction sector was starting to see an improvement as we transition into the first quarter of 2022. Look for the effects of COVID-19 to fade. Continuing higher oil prices will positively impact Canada’s oil patch. New RFQs/Bidding opportunities on commercial-type projects should present themselves as we move further into 2022.

BRAZIL

4.1

10.7

12.7

The impact of the new OMICRON strain on the Brazilian construction sector has yet to be determined. Brazil continues to struggle with COVID-related deaths each day; more than 23 million confirmed COVID cases and over 6250,000 deaths. Brazil accounts for 25% of the world’s daily COVID-19 fatalities, and many experts warn the worst may lie ahead.

UNITED KINGDOM

5.6

4.3

4.4

The latest OMICRON strain on the UK construction sector has yet to be determined.

BREXIT terms and conditions remain a problem. Once the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved, in say 3 to 6 months, the UK economy and construction sector could be set for a growth spurt. The pound sterling is starting to strengthen against the dollar.

GERMANY

2.7

5.1

3.4

The effect of the latest OMICRON strain on the German construction sector has yet to be determined. German economic and construction activity, once the COVID-19 virus is alleviated, is expected to improve, however, this might take another 6 to 9 months. Many industry experts believe BREXIT will not be a good outcome for the German economy and construction sector, but only time will tell. Inflation/Escalation are increasing rather rapidly in just about all countries, including Germany. This could be a serious problem for the construction sector.

FRANCE

3.4

2.9

7.7

The latest OMICRON strain on the French construction sector has yet to be determined.

The protracted and confusing rollout of COVID vaccinations was a serious problem in France. France has struggled with high unemployment since 2008. COVID-19 is an additional challenge. This virus couldn’t have come at a worse time, as France has struggled economically for the last 10 years. Engineering and Architectural firms are reporting a significant fall off of RFQ’s/new orders as we move into the first quarter of 2022.

RUSSIA

4.1

7.9

4.5

Russia has seen close to 10.4 million COVID cases & more than 300,000 casualties to the virus. The lengthy distribution of the Russian vaccinations program appears to have been solved. The effect of the latest COVID-19 / OMICRON strain on the Russian construction sector has yet to be established.

Russia announced in August 2020 that it had produced a COVID-19 vaccine (Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine), which went into full production in September 2020. Russia has closed its borders to foreigners in recent weeks. The recent rise in oil prices is good news for the Russian construction sector.

JAPAN

1.2

0.2

2.8

Japan’s construction sector is forecast to see minimal growth going into 2022. The impact of the latest OMICRON strain on the Japanese construction sector has yet to be determined. Japan has withstood the COVID-19 reasonably well. The Japanese economy and construction sector are still underperforming.

CHINA

5.0

2.2

5.1

The impact of the new OMICRON strain on the Chinese construction sector has yet to be evaluated. China’s economy and construction sector have recovered quickly. Painstaking lockdowns and population tracing policies prevented the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Chinese economy and construction sectors are starting to see decent growth again. The consequences of the global economic impact of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic are still to be determined. Many USA, European, and Japanese manufacturing companies have plans to relocate their production facilities out of China, stay tuned. China’s real estate house of cards could be brought down by real estate company Evergrande, the world’s most indebted company. This could send ripples throughout the global financial market.

INDIA

8.2

10.6

12.5

Escalation is increasing in just about all countries. This could be a serious problem for the construction sector. The impact of the new OMICRON strain on the Indian construction sector has yet to be determined. The impact of the new COVID-19 / OMICRON strain on the Middle East construction sector has yet to be determined. India has seen 35 million confirmed cases of COVID and is reporting 500,000 deaths, however, this number appears to be significantly understated. The Indian economy has started to improve in the last 2 months as a result of the COVID pandemic lockdowns. Infrastructure construction is the only good thing to report on at this time. The potential of border hostilities with China is a major concern. India continues to purchase advanced fighter jets and weapon systems, which is not a good sign. India has been hard hit with COVID-19, resulting in many deaths. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earmarked a $2 billion + fund to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Indian population and industry. India now ranks #5 in the economy league table, larger than both the UK and France. Where will it be in the next 10 years?

 

1st Q 2022 Prices at a Glance:

  • Forecast Cost of a barrel of Crude Oil $75 – $88
  • Forecast of Euro / US $ Exchange Rate 1.11 – 1.15
  • Forecast of UK Pound / US $ Exchange Rate $1.30 – $1.40
  • Forecast of Copper per pound $4.12 – $4.28
  • Forecast of Aluminum per pound $1.05 – $1.18
  • Forecast of Gold per Ounce $1,770 – $2,000
  • US Construction Material Inflation (Basket of 10 construction materials) 3.4% – 4.3%

 

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