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Roundup: British construction growth eases to seven-month low

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

LONDON, June 3 (Xinhua) -- British construction output increased sharply in May, but the pace of expansion eased to the slowest since October 2013, Markit said on Tuesday.

The British construction purchasing managers index dipped to 60 in May, its lowest level in seven months, from 60.8 in April, said the London-based survey compiler.

Residential buildings remained the strongest performing area of activity, despite the pace of growth easing slightly to a three-month low, said Markit.

Civil engineering output increased at a robust rate that was faster than in April. But commercial building output grew at its slowest in seven months.

The construction sector dominates the British economy, contributing around 6.3 percent of the GDP, according to the Office of National Statistics.

"Output growth hit a seven-month low in May, but the Britain construction sector is enjoying its strongest overall phase of expansion since the summer of 2007," said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

"Residential building remains a key engine of growth, with survey respondents citing another surge in new house building starts during May," he added.

"Strong expansion in new business and improving economic conditions reflected particularly well on business optimism and outlook for the year ahead," said David Noble, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

"Importantly, this was supported by a sharp increase in employment levels, an indication that this latest upturn will continue to expand," he said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/140603/roundup-british-construction-growth-eases-seven-month-low