UK construction activity hits 8-month high

| March 2, 2011
”UK

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS)/Markit construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has today revealed UK construction activity surged to an eight-month high in February.

The PMI rose to 56.5 in February, up from January’s 53.7 – confounding analysts expectations of a drop to 52.9.

The index remains above the crucial 50 mark, which indicates expansion.

Activity in the commercial building sector, the housebuilding and civil engineering sectors also rose.

Commenting on the report, David Noble, chief executive at the CIPS, said: “The situation is still fragile, however, considering the likely impact of government cuts.”

Construction accounts for around 6% of Britain’s economic output.

Meanwhile, the index comes shortly after figures revealed UK manufacturing activity held its record high in February.

The closely-watched CIPS/Markit manufacturing PMI remained at 61.5 in February – which represents the highest reading since records began in 1992 and exceeded forecasts of 61.

According to analysts, both sets of figures bode well for stronger economic growth in the first quarter after a contraction in the final quarter of 2010.

The pound rose 0.1% against the dollar after the figures were released to $1.6284.

The UK’s service sector activity index will be published later this week.

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