Construction firms in the United Kingdom saw a stronger growth of business activity levels in July, supported by the most rapid rise in residential work for just more than two-and-a-half years.
The Standard Bank South Africa purchasing managers index (PMI) contracted for the first time in six months in July, according to a survey carried out in conjunction with IHS Markit, which cited a decline in output and new orders.
However, while supply chain pressures continued to slow delivery times, input cost inflation pulled back from the previous month's nine-month high. Resilient business confidence and another solid rise in backlogs of work underpinned sustained employment growth in July. Any reading above 50 indicates that a sector is growing while anything below suggests a contraction.
He stressed that construction companies continued to endure "substantial" cost pressures, driven by rising fuel bills and higher prices for steel-intensive items.
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The survey comes a day after the BoE hiked interest rates to a new post-financial crisis high of 0.75 percent in part because it took the view that the economy had recovered momentum after a weak start to the year caused by unusually bad weather.
A leading economic think tank said the BoE should raise rates but also said it would make a U-turn if Brexit talks sour or trade tensions with the United States escalate.
Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit and author of the report said: "July data reveals an impressive turnaround in the performance of the United Kingdom construction sector, with output growth the strongest for just over one year". New business volumes expanded at the strongest rate since May 2017, while workforce numbers increased to the greatest extent for just over two and-a-half years.
"While the recent rebound in construction work has been flattered by its recovery from a low base earlier in 2018, there are also signs that underlying demand conditions have picked up this summer". "Residential activity and commercial work both increased at the sharpest pace since December 2015, which contrasted with another subdued month for civil engineering".