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UK construction growth slows in March, confidence surges: PMI

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Growth in Britain's construction industry slowed in March, hit by concerns about May's national elections, but confidence surged to a nine-year high and there were signs of bottlenecks pushing up costs, a survey showed on Thursday.

[LONDON] Growth in Britain's construction industry slowed in March, hit by concerns about May's national elections, but confidence surged to a nine-year high and there were signs of bottlenecks pushing up costs, a survey showed on Thursday.

The monthly Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers'index (PMI) fell to 57.8 last month after hitting a four-month high of 60.1 in February.

Growth lost pace across the industry and the slowdown was most marked in the civil engineering sector, survey compiler Markit said.

There were further signs of companies delaying spending decisions ahead of a national election on May 7 and employment numbers rose at their slowest since December 2013.

The availability of sub-contractors fell sharply again, however, pushing up their charges by the steepest amount since the survey began in April 1997, and there were shortages of material supplies which also pushed up costs, Markit said.

Looking ahead, construction firms said they were they were more confident about the coming 12 months than at any time since February 2006.

REUTERS