By David Milliken
LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) – British construction activity slowed in August after reaching a two-year high the month before, as builders worked their way through projects delayed by bad weather earlier in the year, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Financial data company IHS Markit said its monthly purchasing managers’ index for the construction industry dropped to a three-month low of 52.9 last month from July’s 55.8, below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
“The construction sector slipped back into a slower growth phase in August, with this summer’s catch-up effect starting to unwind after projects were delayed by adverse weather at the start of 2018,” survey author Tim Moore said.
The slide follows the weakest manufacturing PMI in more than two years on Monday, but analysts will not have a broad picture of the economy until figures for the much larger services sector are released on Wednesday.
Data released overnight showed robust consumer spending growth, driven by spending at pubs and restaurants, though some high-street shops suffered from hot weather and a long-term challenge from online retailers.
Overall, Britain’s economy has slowed in the two years since June 2016’s Brexit vote, and the Bank of England raised interest rates last month for only the second time in more than a decade on concern about longer-term inflation pressures.
The PMI survey showed widespread capacity shortages remain, and suppliers were taking the longest to deliver building materials since March 2015. Shorter-run inflation pressures eased, though, with input prices rising at the slowest rate in more than two years.
(Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Larry King)