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UK construction companies indicated a sustained reduction in business activity during August, but the pace of decline was only marginal and much softer than the seven-year record seen during July. New order volumes also moved closer to stabilisation, with the latest reduction the least marked since May. This contributed to a renewed rise in staffing levels across the construction sector and a rebound in business expectations for the next 12 months. However, latest data indicated a further steep acceleration in input cost inflation. Purchasing prices rose at the fastest pace for just over five years amid reports that exchange rate depreciation had acted as a catalyst for increased charges among suppliers of construction materials.
At 49.2 in August, the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index® (PMI® ) remained below the 50.0 no-change threshold for the third consecutive month. However, the index was up from July's 85- month low (45.9), and the latest reading signalled the slowest pace of decline since the downturn began in June.
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