UK construction activity eases in March

| April 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS)/Markit construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has today revealed UK construction activity eased slightly in March.

The PMI edged lower to 56.4 in March, from February’s 8-month high of 56.5 - albeit better than forecasts of 54.8.

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

Commenting on the report, Sarah Ledger, Economist at Markit and author of the UK Construction PMI said: “UK construction companies reported a strong end to the first quarter, with activity rising at a similar pace to the eight-month high recorded in February.”

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

Meanwhile, the index comes shortly after figures revealed UK manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in March.

The closely-watched CIPS/Markit manufacturing PMI dropped to 57.1 in March – a five-month low – down from a revised 60.9 in February.

The reading was much lower than the 60.5 expected by analysts.

The manufacturing sector, which accounts for around 13% of economic output, has been one of the bright spots in the UK economy, which suffered a shock contraction in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The pound rose 0.22% against the dollar after the construction figures were released to $1.6146.

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