Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Unexpected slump in UK construction

PUBLISHED: 10:17 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 03 January 2018

The UK's construction output fell unexpectedly last month. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The UK's construction output fell unexpectedly last month. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

There was bad news for builders as output in Britain’s construction sector unexpectedly fell last month as commercial building and civil engineering work continued to drag on the industry.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed a reading of 52.2 in December, down from 53.1 in November and below economists’ forecasts of 53.1. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Despite the industry struggling to fire on all cylinders, housebuilding levels proved robust and new orders accelerated at the fastest pace since May.

However, these bright spots failed to inspire a cheerier outlook from firms, with the balance of companies expecting a boost to output levels in 2018 proving one of the weakest for four-and-a-half years.

The update comes as output in the UK manufacturing industry achieved “solid growth” last month, but eased back from a near four-and-a-half-year high when separate PMI data was released on Tuesday.

Tim Moore, IHS Markit’s associate director, said: “The UK construction sector achieved a moderate expansion of business activity at the end of 2017, although the recovery remained uneven and slowed overall since November.

“Construction companies indicated that another strong contribution from housebuilding helped to offset subdued civil engineering activity and reduced volumes of commercial work.

“Total new orders picked up at the fastest pace for seven months in December, which provides a positive signal for construction workloads in the short-term.

“Resilient demand and forthcoming project starts also led to greater job creation and the strongest increase in input buying for two years.”

Sterling was marginally higher versus the US dollar at 1.359 following the announcement, while the pound lifted 0.1% against the euro at 1.128.

A person has died after a serious crash on the A12 near Copdock this afternoon.

The sunshine, blue skies and record breaking temperatures of recent days are set to come to a thundery end - with heavy rain and lightning expected across the region this weekend.

Police investigating a series of power tool thefts from vans and properties in Suffolk have recovered more than 120 items.

A full business case for a northern bypass will be tabled by the end of the year it has been revealed, as transport secretary Chris Grayling has said that some improvements in the area will “have to happen”.

An Ipswich man who was in a “blind rage” when he deliberately drove his car into a neighbour has been jailed for two years and seven months.

The jury in the trial of a 68-year-old former Ipswich man accused of sexually assaulting a schoolboy in his mobile home more than a decade ago is expected to retire to consider its verdicts on Monday.

Volunteer lifesavers rescued a stranded yacht off the Essex coast this afternoon.

The East of England Ambulance Service answered 3,200 calls per day over the winter period, new data shows.

In this week’s iWitness challenge we asked our photographers to show us what ‘local’ meant to them by capturing the parts of Suffolk they see every day.

A broken down train has prevented the minister responsible for the country’s transport system from visiting the Great Yarmouth area today.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24