UK construction PMI arrives a tad firmer at 49.7 in March, misses estimates


The construction sector activity in the UK remained in the contraction territory last month, the latest survey report from Markit Economics showed this Tuesday.

The final Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 49.7 in March, up from 49.5 recorded in February but missed the consensus estimates pointing to a reading of 49.8.

Key Points:

Marginal reduction in overall construction output.

Commercial work remains weakest performing area.

Residential building rises at fastest pace for three months.

Joe Hayes, Economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, noted:

“Fears that the recent weakness of the UK construction sector may not be just a blip, but a sustained soft patch, were further fuelled by latest data. Amid subdued inflows of new work, a first back-to-back decline in output since August 2016 was recorded.

Brexit-related uncertainty continued to generate indecisiveness, ultimately hitting order book volumes. Furthermore, strong competition for contracts was also reported by some panel members. The outlook was subsequently underwhelming by historical standards, with the unsettled political and economic environment keeping business confidence below its long-run average.”

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