SHANGHAI, Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashton Whiteley: In January, for the first time since September 2017, Britain's building sector came close to contracting as worries over the country's political situation led to a decrease in new orders.
The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI dropped to 50.2 last month from 52.2 the month before, well below a median prediction of 52.0 in a recent poll of economists.
A Shanghai, China-based Ashton Whiteley economist reported that clients were more reluctant to invest in new projects due to increased concern's over Britain's economic outlook.
According to Ashton Whiteley economists, firms anticipate an improvement in business later this year but this outlook depends largely on the outcome of the U.K.'s Brexit negotiations.
British Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to reach an agreement with the EU that prevents the establishment of any new barriers to investment and trade. Recently, May has come under significant pressure from members of her party to resist Brussels' demands.
On the whole, Ashton Whiteley economists say the U.K.'s economy has managed better than was anticipated at the time of the referendum in June 2016 when the country voted to leave the European Union. This was mainly due to a recovery in the global economy with Britain still falling behind its economic peers.
According to official data released last week, the construction sector contracted in the final quarter of last year and posted its worst performance in five years. Construction makes up approximately six percent of the U.K.'s economic output.
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SOURCE Ashton Whiteley