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  • The RICS Q1 2014 Construction Market Survey showed strong gains in construction activity through 2014 so far. The net workloads balance, which measures change on the previous quarter, reached the highest level since the survey began 20 years ago. Growth was especially strong in the private housing, commercial and industrial sectors. Financial constraints are still seen as the greatest factor limiting building activity, though this figure has been falling over the last year. The proportion reporting labour and materials shortages as limiting factors increased from the previous quarter.
  • European construction output in February was up 0.1% from January, across both the Eurozone and the 28 countries of the EU. Compared to a year earlier, output was up 6.7% in the Eurozone and 5.5% in the EU28. 

  • The UK budget deficit was £107.7bn in 2013-14, down from £115.1bn in 2012-13. This was the lowest shortfall since 2007-08 before tax revenues began to fall, and means the current deficit is equal to 6.6% of UK GDP.
  • UK car production rose in March to 142,000 units, up 12% on a year earlier, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Output in the first quarter of the year was 3% higher than a year ago, due to slowdowns in the first two months of the year as manufacturers adjusted lines to manufacture new models.
  • Retail sales rose in March, in a sign that consumer spending remains in growth mode. Sales volumes were 0.1% higher than February and 4.2% higher than a year ago, according to ONS statistics.

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