UK construction activity burst into life in July with a reading of 58.1 compared with 55.3 in the prior month, signaling the fastest-paced expansion since October 2015, according to the latest statistics published by IHS Markit on August 6.

 

New orders, while driven largely by growth in residential construction, also picked up for the second consecutive month with survey respondents commenting on a boost to sales from easing lockdown measures and the restart of work on site.

 

Commercial construction works and civil engineering project activity both expanded at a slightly faster pace compared with June levels, though growth was largely attributed to the catch up on works that had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Like other major European economic epicenters, there were reports that clients remained apprehensive about committing to new projects, resulting in intense competition to secure sales and squeezed margins.

 

British construction companies appeared optimistic about the prospect of a recovery in business activity during the next 12 months, though their confidence has moderated somewhat since June in response to concerns about the economic outlook and lack of new projects.

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