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Financial News: UK Construction Activity Logs Moderate Growth In May

UK Construction Activity Logs Moderate Growth In May

06/04/2018 - 08:37:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK construction activity logged a moderate growth in May with the pace of expansion matching that seen in April, survey data from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply showed Monday.

The construction Purchasing Managers' Index held steady at 52.5 in May. A score above 50 indicates expansion. Economists had forecast the index to drop to 51.8.

Some firms suggested that unusually good weather conditions had supported activity and enabled them to continue catching up after the previous months' weather related disruptions.

Among the three sub-sectors, residential work remained the strongest for the third straight month in May.

Both the commercial and civil engineering sectors remained in growth territory for the second month running in May, with the former being the only category to record a faster rate of expansion than in April.

New order books contracted for the fourth time in the last five months amid political and economic uncertainty. Nonetheless, the rate of contraction was only fractional.

The survey showed that optimism towards future growth prospects slumped to a seven-month low in May. The decline was linked to fears of general uncertainty and an expected slowdown in the construction sector.

Moreover, job creation softened to a four-month low in May. Surveyed companies continued to report a shortage of skilled staff availability.

Purchasing costs of firms increased sharply in May. The rate of input price inflation was the steepest since February. Panel members commonly reported elevated fuel costs, alongside higher plastic and steel-related input prices.

"It's likely that the construction sector's performance will be a slow and steady crawl through the second quarter, as the specter of Brexit continues to dominate, and the double pincer movement of few orders, and higher costs, could see the sector stutter further," Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS, said.

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