05 July 2004 | Kathryn Manning
Rising oil and shortages of raw materials drove up input price inflation for UK builders to yet another record high in June.
According to the latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) from CIPS and NTC Research, the seasonally adjusted PMI, a composite indicator of sector conditions, registered growth at 56.6, compared to 56.3 in May, signalling a slight acceleration in the rate of growth
An index of 50 indicates no change on the previous month.
'Once again, this took the index to its highest since our survey began in April 1997', said Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS.
The sharpest increase was seen in commercial construction activity, which expanded at an accelerating rate during the month, recording 58.8 in June, from May's reading of 56.5.
Shortages of materials on international markets - in particular of steel - and rising fuel prices were widely cited by panel firms as the principal factors behind a further steep rise in average input costs in June.
The sector remained optimistic that activity levels would be higher in 12 months time than at present. However, the future business activity index fell slightly to 74.9, compared with 77.9 in May.
More information on the UK and euro-zone PMIs is available at www.ntc-research.com. The full text of the ISM reports on the US economy for June, and previous reports, is available at www.ism.ws/ISMReport/index.cfm