UK construction industry beats expectations in February
The Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers' index rose to 52.5 from 52.2 in January, above the 50 mark that separates contraction from expansion for the sixth consecutive month.
Economists had been expecting the reading to remain unchanged at 52.5.
However, the rate of output growth was still weaker than its post-referendum peak of 54.2 in December 2016 and subdued compared to the trends over the past three-and-a-half years.
Civil engineering replaced house building as the main growth driver, as residential activity increased at the slowest pace for six months, while commercial building dropped for the first time since October 2016.
Survey respondents said the resilient economic backdrop and a stabilisation in client confidence since the EU referendum continued to help drive construction growth in February. But there were also reports that demand growth had softened so far this year. ■