UK construction sector downbeat despite house build rise

Michael Ochs Archives  Getty Images

Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

PTIThis is for the fifth consecutive month that the index has come in above 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.

December data pointed to resilient demand for new construction projects, as highlighted by the fastest upturn in new order volumes since May.

Overall, input cost inflation quickened to the sharpest since April and subsequently, firms raised their average selling prices at the fastest pace in 10 months, the report said.

Strong rates of expansion in output, new orders and employment were the main drivers behind the manufacturing PMI reaching its highest level since the survey began in mid-1997, IHS said.

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The PMI gain was supported by improved business optimism among survey respondents. The upturn in outstanding business accelerated and was the quickest since October 2015. Meanwhile, factory gate charges rose solidly, despite the rate of inflation softening since November. The balance of companies expecting a rise in output levels remained among the weakest recorded since mid-2013, which survey respondents mainly linked to worries about the wider United Kingdom economic outlook.

"With industry continuing to expand at a tremendous clip into the year end, Italy's economy seems set to have recorded in Q4 a similar-sized increase in GDP to the one seen in the previous quarter", Paul Smith, director at IHS Markit said. The headline index has signaled growth for 54 successive months. "As a result, the balance of United Kingdom construction companies expecting growth in the year ahead remains among the weakest recorded by the survey since mid-2013".

Services sector activity rebounded in December as new orders stabilised and the sector emerged from the impact of rollout issues linked to the Goods & Services Tax (GST), a survey showed on Thursday.

The number of new jobs being created across the sector touched its highest level since June, according to the report, which showed housebuilding work had grown for the 16th month on the bounce.

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