Housing propped up the UK construction market in November, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Construction output grew for the second consecutive month, despite weak commercial and civil engineering activity.
The November PMI rebounded to 523.1 in November, above the 50-point no-change mark and ahead of the 50.8 scored in October. The latest reading was the highest for five months.
“Residential projects underpinned the rebound in total new order growth to its strongest since June, helped by strong demand fundamentals and a supportive policy backdrop,” said Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit and author of the index.
Business uncertainty linked to Brexit continued to “hold back commercial development activity,” Moore continued, while limited tender opportunities held back the civil engineering sector.
“Concerns over civil engineering in particular are prevalent with its downward course the longest since 2013,” added Duncan Brock, Director of Customer Relationships are the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).
Looking to the year ahead, business confidence remained among its most subdued since mid-2013, linked to heightened political and economic uncertainty, although it was up slightly on October’s 58-month low.
“Perhaps the darkest days are heading the sector, with fresh impetus on the horizon for the New Year,” concluded Brock.
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