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UK construction activity slows for second consecutive month

British construction activity has slowed for the second month in a row in March, as businesses in the sector opt to hold back on investment due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

The UK construction industry saw activity slow for the second month in a row in March, as businesses continue to hold back on investment due to the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, according to an industry survey on Tuesday.

The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) edged higher in March to 49.7 from 49.5 but managed to stay below the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction, with this being the first back-to-back fall in output since August 2016 – just months after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Investment in commercial projects drops off

Homebuilding has managed to maintain a steady level of growth, but civil engineering and commercial projects have fallen by the fastest rates seen since September 2017.

‘Brexit-related uncertainty continued to generate indecisiveness, ultimately hitting order book volumes,’ Economist at IHS Markit Joe Hayes said.

Construction output hits weakest level in six years

Official data released last week showed that construction output grew by just 0.3% in 2018, representing the weakest level of activity for the industry in six years and the situation looks unlikely to improve anytime soon.

‘It is unlikely that next month will bring about any positive news given the challenges of a weaker UK economy, volatile pound and intense competition for new orders, as Brexit continues to cast a long shadow over the sector’s future,’ Duncan Brock Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply said.


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