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Civils predicted to lead global construction growth over next decade

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CIVIL ENGINEERING work will lead global construction growth in the next decade according to US economist Standard & Poor's DRI/FW Dodge.

The huge Building New Markets report predicts that global civils investment will grow by an annual average of 6.1% during the next five years.

Driving this growth will be the need for infrastructure in emerging markets and the strength of the US transportation sector.

The report analyses construction investment in 58 countries and ranks them by the opportunities offered. Market size, growth and construction risk are used to produce an overall rating.

The UK is placed 33rd, one place behind the USA.

The analysis suggests that Southern Europe and South East Asia promise to be the two most active regions during the next decade.

China, it says, will knock the US off the top spot to become the world's biggest construction market (see box).

Japan is forecast to slip from second to third place.

But top of the opportunity ratings is South Korea, which boasts a £45bn construction market due to grow at an annual average of 12.3%. China and Indonesia share seventh place. While China boasts construction investment 50 times larger than Indonesia, the island state can look forward to an aver-age 21.1% growth in construction investment.

Growth in the UK is forecast to be marginally higher than in the US and Japan. S&P predicts that Italy will overtake the UK as the world's sixth largest construction economy by 2010 and that growth in nearly all the other major European states will be around twice that in Britain.

But South East Asia can be a risky place for firms to operate and the top five states there have risk ratings of between a reasonable 18.4 and a nervous 60.9. Southern Europe is a much safer bet and Spain, Italy and Greece occupy places three to five in S&P's rankings with risk ratings of between 8.7 and 11.5.

Other 'hot' markets include Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Mexico and India.

Among areas expected to offer the fewest opportunities are Egypt, Russia, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong.See feature page 24 For information about Building New Markets contact Claire Dancaster 020 8545 6279 or at claire_dancaster@standardandpoors.

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