There was a glimmer of hope for the UK's construction industry in February following a miserable few months, after a closely-watched measure of activity in the sector rose more than expected.
IHS Markit's purchasing managers' index for the construction sector climbed to 51.4 in February, it said today, up from a four-month low of 50.2 in January and against economists' expectations of 50.5. Any figure above 50 denotes growth in the sector.
However, IHS Markit said the data still pointed to subdued growth conditions, with shaky confidence and ongoing political uncertainty leading to subdued demand.
"Residential work appears on track to experience its weakest quarter since [the third quarter of] 2016, suggesting that house building is losing its status as the main engine of construction growth," said Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit.
“Civil engineering activity was the worst performing category in February, with survey respondents again commenting on a shallow pool of work to replace projects reaching completion. While subdued house building and infrastructure work acted as a brake on the construction sector, this was partly offset by a sustained turnaround in commercial building.
“Despite pockets of resilience in the UK construction sector, there was little sign of an imminent turnaround in overall growth momentum. Reflecting this, total volumes of new work dropped for the second month running in February and business optimism was among the weakest recorded by the survey since 2013.”
Source: City AM
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