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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Slowest rise in construction output since February

Activity Index by sector

July PMI data marks the first real slowdown in construction recovery since lockdown at start of 2021

JULY PMI data compiled by IHS Markit and CIPS revealed that the recovery in UK construction output lost momentum since June, with slower growth seen in all three main categories of work.

The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI Total Activity Index registered 58.7 in July ¬– down sharply from June’s 24-year high of 66.3 but still well above the 50.0 no-change threshold ¬– and signalled the slowest overall increase in construction output since February.

House building was the best-performing category in July (index at 60.3), followed closely by commercial building (59.2), but in both cases the rate of expansion was the weakest since February. Civil engineering activity (55.0) followed the momentum seen elsewhere in the construction sector during July, with growth easing sharply since June and the lowest for five months.

Around 66% of the survey panel reported longer wait times for supplier deliveries in July, whilst only 2% signalled an improvement in vendor performance, although the latest index reading was up from June’s record low and the highest for three months.

Although optimism toward future output growth remained historically high and total order books continued to improve, the latest rise in new work was the weakest since March and the index drifted down to its lowest for six months in July.

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