Sector Focus 

Construction slows as Brexit fog thickens

Construction slows as Brexit fog thickens

The most recent figures for the IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for construction caused much stir when they were released earlier this month. Rebuffing expectations of an improvement from July to 45.9, a further loss of momentum saw the index fall to 45.0 in August (50 represents the no-change threshold). Leading the descent was commercial construction, with client spending showing particular sensitivity to the uncertain trading environment and keeping a lid on private activity. With Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), signalling that September’s data might make for further grim reading, it doesn’t bode well for the prospects of UK construction as a whole. Still feeling the aftermath of Carillion’s collapse more than 18 months later, the industry has managed to stumble onwards. But the thickening Brexit fog is threatening to grind things to a halt.

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