RTTNews - An index measuring construction activity in the UK contracted at slowest pace in 18 months in August, a report by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply showed Wednesday.

The CIPS/ Markit Construction Purchasing Managers' Index stood at 47.7 in August, indicating there was further contraction in activity, although the rate of decline slowed.

Commenting on the latest PMI figures, David Noble, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply said, Though August saw a reduction in the rate of
deterioration in the construction sector, it is still the sick man of the UK economy. Far from seeing signs of a return to growth, the sector remains stuck in an unprecedented eighteen month period of contraction.

In August, residential and commercial construction declined at a slower pace, while civil engineering dropper at a sharper pace.

Incoming new business contracted at slightly sharper pace in August, while the purchasing activity continued to decline. Purchasing activity declined despite fall in input prices, which was mainly due to increased competition from suppliers and from decreased demand for raw materials. In line with lower quantities of purchases, suppliers improved their delivery times for the 16th successive months.

Employment continued to fall in August, reflecting lower business. However, construction companies indicated sustained optimism over future business activity, and confidence was high reflecting forecasts for business expansion and gains in new orders.

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