Growth in the UK construction sector rose at the fastest pace in five months in April as it rebounded from March’s snow disruptions.
The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index climbed to 52.5 in April, up from March’s 20-month low of 47 and against the neutral reading of 50.
Residential work was by far the best-performing category, expanding at the fastest pace since May 2017, while commercial and civil engineering recorded modest returns to growth.
There was a renewed rise in new order volumes in April but the rate of new business expansion was only marginal, with anecdotal evidence of heightened economic uncertainty and subdued confidence.
Supply chain pressures remained marked with low stocks and shortages of transport capacity contributing to a further lengthening of delivery times for construction materials.
Input cost inflation was unchanged from March’s 20-month low, with reports that higher fuel and steel costs pushed up operating expenses.
Duncan Brock, group customer relationship director at CIPS, said: “The effects of the previous month’s bad weather were echoed in April as supply chains stayed under the cosh again. Besieged by raw material stock shortages and capacity difficulties, suppliers tried to catch up on their delivery commitments with limited success. Transportation times were still lengthy for construction materials for projects already in the pipeline.”
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