Construction sector ‘showing low growth’

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The UK construction sector posted its lowest level of growth for 17 months in December amid signs that the surge in house building is starting to cool.

Figures from the closely watched CIPS/Markit purchasing managers’ index survey gave a reading of 57.6 – where a figure of 50 separates growth from contraction.

It was a fall from the previous month’s 59.4 and the third month of slowing growth in a row, although it still meant the sector has posted a figure above 50 for 20 consecutive months.

House building was the strongest performing area in December, though its pace of growth slowed to its lowest level since June 2013.

However, the report pointed out that 2014 was the strongest calendar year of residential building since the survey began in 1997. Commercial construction also increased at a solid pace, albeit slower than last month. Civil engineering activity fell slightly, marking the end of 17 months of continuous expansion in this area.

David Noble, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, said: “The sector continues on its levelling path this month, with procurement and supply management professionals reporting continued strong growth but with a weaker trajectory than that seen in recent months.”