Spain has become of the main drivers, if not the main driver, of European construction activity, reveal new figures from Eurostat, the EU statistics office.

As has been the case for several months this year, Spanish construction output (residential and civil) was the fastest growing in Europe, growing by 9.1 per cent year on year in September. That follows on the heels of a 22 per cent since in August.

It should be pointed out, however, that Spanish construction activity is growing from a low base after years of rigor mortis for the building industry.

Behind Spain in the ranking of construction activity came the Czech Republic (up 8.2 per cent) and Hungary (up 7.3 per cent). At the other end of the ranking, the biggest falls in construction activity were seen in Italy (down 10.6 per cent), Portugal (down 5.2 per cent), France (down 3.4 per cent) and the Netherlands (down 3.1 per cent).

Within the Eurozone and the European Union (EU), construction activity also registered decreases with year-on-year falls of 1.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

As far as month-on-month changes go, the data shows that in September compared to August, the building sector slowed down by 1.8 per cent in the Eurozone and slightly increased by 0.9 per cent in the EU.

In terms of individual countries (not all data is available), the biggest monthly drop in construction activity was registered in Slovenia (8.6 per cent less), Italy (5.4 per cent less), Sweden (3.2 per cent less) and France (2.3 per cent less).

The biggest increases were seen in Romania with a 7.9 per cent increase, the Czech Republic, up by 2.7 per cent and Bulgaria with a 2.4 per cent increase.