UK construction PMI weaker than expected

Activity in Britain's construction sector slowed more than expected last month, a survey of purchasing managers by Markit/CIPS showed.

The Markit/CIPS headline construction PMI index fell to 53.3 in April from 56.4 in March. Economists had expected a more modest slowdown in the index to 55.5.

Both the housing and civil engineering sub-industries registered weaker performances, with the former posting a contraction in activity for the first time this year, the survey said. In contrast, commercial recorded a marked and accelerated rise in activity.

"Low activity levels in the housing market, tighter government purse strings, rising input prices in fuel and materials, as well as poor cash flow in some cases, are clearly a worry," said CIPS chief executive David Noble.