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Financial News: UK Construction Contracts At Slowest Pace In 8

UK Construction Contracts At Slowest Pace In 8 Months

02/04/2020 - 06:55:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK construction sector contracted at the slowest pace in eight months in January as receding political uncertainty after the general election boosted client demand, results of a closely watched survey showed Tuesday.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 48.4 in January from 44.4 in December.

This was the slowest fall in eight months and above the forecast of 47.1. Nonetheless, the below-50 score signaled contraction.

House building was the best performing broad area of construction activity, with output falling only slightly. Residential work dropped at the slowest pace since May 2019.

At the same time, commercial activity decreased for the thirteenth consecutive month, but the rate of fall was much weaker than in December. Meanwhile, civil engineering was the worst performing sub-sector.

Further, the survey showed that the decrease in new orders was the least marked in the current ten-month period of decline. Orders were close to stabilization in January.

The survey showed that the clarity in relation to Brexit following the general election had a positive impact on demand, especially in the residential development category.

Citing higher fuel and haulage costs, cost burdens increased at the sharpest pace since July 2019. Business optimism surged to its highest level since April 2018.

"Though this rebound is a welcome sign, as with all sudden improvements, the danger remains the sector could easily recoil and shrink again," Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS, said.

"The domestic political situation and the UK's attempt to find its place in the world remains littered with obstacles so businesses could find themselves on this see-saw of good and bad news for some time yet," Brock added.

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