Monday, 28 May, 2018

United Kingdom construction growth slowdown in July

Reuters Reuters
Preston Stone | 04 August, 2017, 02:09

"A rebound in employment numbers has been recorded since October 2016, helped by improved business confidence and efforts to rebuild production capacity".

Political conundrums and an uncertain outlook for the economy drove the United Kingdom construction industry into a tumble.

According to the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services PMI Business Activity Index, the imposition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) along with weak demand led to the deterioration in business sentiment.

"July data reveals a growth slowdown in the United Kingdom construction sector, mainly driven by lower volumes of commercial development and a loss of momentum for house building".

But he warned that "while the current picture remained one of an economy showing overall resilience in the face of concerns about the outlook, the subdued level of business optimism suggests it's likely that growth will at least remain modest and could easily weaken in coming months".

"If this trend of milder price pressures is also reflected in other areas of the United Kingdom economy, this should provide the Bank of England sufficient leeway to maintain its current supportive stance until the medium-term outlook for economic growth becomes less uncertain", Rob Dobson, an IHS Markit economist, said.

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The bureau said a contraction of activity in road transport, real estate and residential services overshadowed faster expansion in postal services, broadcasting and Internet sectors.

Sterling lifted 0.2% to 1.32 U.S. dollars and 0.4% to 1.12 euros after the latest figures were published. "At the same time, input cost inflation moderated to a nine-month low, with manufacturers attributing this to a stronger exchange rate against the USA dollar". June's reading had been the highest since Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned high-value currency notes in November.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to EY Item Club, said July's PMI surveys "point to an economy still struggling to get out of a low gear".

Commenting on the results, Sarah McMonagle, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: "These figures represent the weakest monthly performance in the United Kingdom construction industry for nearly one year".

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its forecast for Chinese growth while downgrading the U.S. and U.K. The Washington-based lending institution predicts 6.7% growth in 2017, up from the April estimate of 6.6%.

"In some cases, the survey's respondents indicated that lower interest rates enabled them to offer discounts to clients in spite of rising prices for some materials".

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