According to the report from IHS Markit/CIPS, UK construction companies recorded another drop in business activity during November. The pace of decline moderated to its slowest since July. However, new work continued to fall sharply amid reports that domestic political uncertainty had led to indecision among clients.
The headline seasonally adjusted UK Construction Total Activity Index rose to 45.3 in November, from 44.2 in October, to signal the slowest drop in overall construction output for four months. Economists had expected an increase to 45.3. Reduced business activity was attributed to a lack of new work to replace completed contracts. In some cases, survey respondents suggested that unusually wet weather in November had also weighed on output. All three broad areas of construction work recorded a fall in output during November, with civil engineering the worst performing category, followed by commercial building. Meanwhile, a much slower decline in housing activity helped to moderate the overall drop in UK construction output signalled by the survey in November.
Looking ahead, construction companies remain relatively cautious about their prospects for growth over the course of 2020. The degree of business optimism was little-changed since October and still much weaker than its long-run average.
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