Stacking up

Economic Week In Review | Issue 331 | 30 May 2022

Materials and commodities

  • Oil | The G7 has urged Opec to raise its output levels in a bid to cool the oil market. Saudi Arabia has been particularly resistant to calls to increase production, stating that there is no lack of supply.
  • Shipping | Russia has pledged to open sea corridors from key Ukrainian ports to export grain as global leaders have warned of a global food crisis. Many have voiced concerns that this alone will not solve the problem as the nation’s rail service is also disrupted.

UK construction

  • Confidence | The latest RIBA Future Trends survey revealed an accelerating trend of falling confidence over future workloads. RIBA’s head of economic research and analysis said that delays in the planning process and rising costs were hindering construction.
  • International investment | A sovereign wealth fund from Singapore and a US property developer have agreed to buy a £3.3bn portfolio of student housing. The deal with GIC and Greystar to buy Student Roost from Brookfield is the largest real estate transaction to take place since the pandemic.
  • Productivity | Research is currently taking place into whether the technology that was introduced during the pandemic to assist with social distancing, can be used to increase productivity, safety and efficiency on site.
  • Housing | Work started on nearly 5,000 London council homes in the tax year 2021/22. In the decade before Sadiq Khan became mayor, just 3,520 council homes were built, down from a peak of over 9,000 in 1979.
  • Demolition | The Environmental Audit Committee (a cross-party group of MPs) has suggested, in a new report, that retrofit and reuse should be considered before demolition, and if that is not possible, it recommends more efficient and effective use of low-carbon materials. It wants to see the UK follow places such as the Netherlands and France into requiring whole-life carbon assessments to be included in the planning process by December 2023 to allow planners to judge whether a building should be demolished.

UK economy

  • Cost of living | A package of measures worth £15 billion was announced by the Chancellor to help households tackle the cost of living crisis, targeted towards low-income and vulnerable households. The package will be partially funded by an additional levy on energy company profits.
  • Living Wage | Employers who have signed up to the voluntary Living Wage have been urged to expedite future increases as the Living Wage Foundation will bring forward its announcement of the 2022-2023 rate from November to September. The rate currently stands at £9.90 an hour across the UK, and £11.05 in London. The statutory minimum, set by the government is £9.50.
  • CEO pay has recovered to pre-Covid levels amongst FTSE 100 companies according to an analysis by Deloitte,
  • Bank Holiday impact | Bloomberg economists suggest that the extended bank holiday may shave half a percentage point off GDP in Q2, based on an analysis of previous Bank Holidays.

Global economy

  • China | Industrial groups in China reported their worst fall in profits in two years as Covid-19 lockdowns continue. Profits were 8.5% lower than a year earlier.
  • Rate rises | Banks around the world are rapidly increasing base rates (albeit at small increments) in the most widespread tightening of fiscal policy. Analysis by the Financial Times shows that more than 60 increases have been announced by central banks around the world in the last three months.
Tender Price Index

Published every six months, our Tender Price Index is an analysis of inflation price deviation in construction prices. Click on the link above to view our most recent Index.

Friday to Friday

Price / Index Week %
Annual %
FTSE 100 7,585.46 2.65 8.01
FTSE 250 20,372.52 2.71 -10.19
Nikkei 26,781.68 0.16 -8.12
CSI 300 4,001.30 -1.87 -24.80
S&P 500 4,158.24 6.58 -1.09
Nasdaq 12,131.13 6.84 -11.70
CAC 40 6,515.75 3.67 0.49
Dax 14,462.19 3.44 -6.82
$ per £ 1.2610 0.93 -11.12
€ per £ 1.1779 -0.42 1.23
Gold £/oz 1,468.58 -0.65 9.48
Brent Oil $/barrel 119.43 8.40 71.52

Weekly Summary

The package of measures announced by the Chancellor this week recognises the urgency and severity of the cost of living crisis and will be welcomed by many. However, the questions being asked over the funding of the package should remind us of the risks to workload in the public sector. Increasing costs led by energy and skills shortages, combined with unavoidable government payments in other sectors could force a scaling back of planned expenditure.

RIBA’s Future Trends survey reflects a growing sentiment of a slowing-down of some projects as decisions are delayed in an extreme inflationary environment and the planning process continues to provide frustrations.

Author contact

Rachel Coleman
Rachel Coleman,
Associate Research Analyst