British construction activity unexpectedly picked up more speed in January, with growth reaching its highest level since the financial crisis, a survey of purchasing managers showed on Tuesday.
The Markit/CIPS construction PMI rose to 64.6 in January from December’s reading of 62.1, the sharpest expansion in UK construction activity since August 2007, when the financial crisis first started to take hold in Britain.
The number far exceeded economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for a reading of 61.5, and was well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
“January’s survey provides reassurance that the UK construction recovery remains on track,” said Tim Moore, senior economist with Markit, which compiles the data.
The building industry was hammered by the financial crisis of 2007-09. The pick-up in construction comes as Britain’s housing market has been boosted by falling unemployment, low interest rates and government programmes.
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