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February sees flat market

The latest IHS/CIPS UK Construction PMI data has been released, showing subdued growth for construction in February.

Data collected for the latest Index reflects a continuation of market conditions which have prevailed since December. With business activity increasing only marginally, and new work decreasing for the second month running, February’s data was registered at 51.4 in the Index, slightly up from January’s four-month low of 50.2.

These figures show just a marginal increase in construction output during February, and are lower than the average 2017 figure of 52.3.

Respondents to the survey have highlighted fragile business confidence and ongoing political uncertainty as key factors in holding back client demand, with strong input cost pressures, higher raw material prices, fuel bills and staff wages noted as contributing factors.

Martin Bennett, Regional Director of the Vinden Partnership, said: “These latest figures indicate the volatile nature of the construction market. While the Index still leans towards growth, we are coming ever closer to a contraction in the market. The most worrying information is that the figures are now lying at a lower rate than the 2017 average.

“Commercial construction has provided a bright spot, with the upturn in the sector growing its fastest rate since May last year.

“With a difficult market and low customer confidence, construction could be struggling. However, looking at the wider picture, we can expect output to grow throughout the warmer months, and housing to rebound to previous highs.”

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