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Financial News: UK Construction Growth Slows Slightly In March

UK Construction Growth Slows Slightly In March

04/04/2017 - 04:50:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK construction sector growth slowed slightly in March, survey results from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 52.2 in March from 52.5 in February. The score was expected to remain unchanged at 52.5.

The reading signaled the joint-slowest upturn in overall construction output since the current period of expansion began in September 2016.

Softer growth primarily reflected a loss of momentum in housing activity, which offset a rebound in both commercial and civil engineering activity. Civil engineering project works grew at the fastest pace so far in 2017.

Subdued new business growth persisted in March, with the rate of expansion unchanged from the four-month low registered in February.

The survey respondents noted that reduced Brexit-related anxiety and the resilient economic backdrop had a positive impact on new invitations to tender.

Construction companies reported a solid increase in employment numbers in March, although the pace of job creation eased to a three-month low.

Input cost inflation remained strong in March, linked to higher prices for imported materials and global commodity price rises. However, the overall rate of cost inflation eased further from the eight-and-half year peak seen in January.

"A weaker trend for residential work has been reported throughout 2017 so far, which provides an indication that the cooling UK housing market has started to act as a drag on the construction sector," Tim Moore, a senior economist at IHS Markit, said.

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