Markit UK construction PMI: Growth loses momentum in July

 
Jessica Morris
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Housebuilding activity grew at the slowest pace since April (Source: Getty)

The UK's construction sector unexpectedly lost momentum in July as growth in housebuilding and civil engineering slowed.

The widely watched Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slowed to 57.1 in July, from 58.1 a month earlier, also missing economists' expectations for a reading of 58.4.

Any number above the crucial 50 mark implies expansion.

Growth in housebuilding fell to its second-weakest level since mid-2013, while civil engineering also expanded at a slower pace. At the same time, commercial activity rose at its fastest rate since March.

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"Sustained growth across the UK economy so far this year has firmed up demand for commercial building work, with construction companies noting a particularly strong appetite for new development projects among clients," Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, said.

"However, residential activity expanded at one of the slowest rates for over two years, highlighting that the house building sector is struggling to gain momentum despite supportive demand conditions."

"Survey respondents commented on a variety of growth constraints afflicting the residential building sector, including long lead-in times for new projects, scarce supplier capacity, skill shortages and stretched sub-contractor availability. Added to this, building costs rose at an accelerated pace in July and sub-contractor charges increased at one of the fastest rates since the survey began in 1997," he added.

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