German construction activity fell last month for the first time since December, according to a key survey of construction purchasing managers by Markit Economics.

The construction purchasing managers index fell to 49.8 from 50.6 in July, Markit said Tuesday. A reading over 50 indicates growth. Markit said the decline in the index followed a fifth straight month that new orders decreased.

The latest monthly decrease in new work received was marked and in excess of the average rate of decline recorded in the current period of contraction, Markit said in a statement.

With new orders falling markedly and fears regarding a global economic slowdown and the Eurozone debt crisis growing in August, overall expectations fell to greatest extent since the collapse of Lehmans and were the lowest since December 2009.

The low index number for August reflects a month-on-month decrease in civil engineering and commercial building, Markit said.

German builders have a dim view of their industry's near-term prospects.

With new orders falling markedly and fears regarding a global economic slowdown and the Eurozone debt crisis growing in August, overall expectations fell to greatest extent since the collapse of Lehmans and were the lowest since December 2009, Markit said.