Construction still ‘a weak spot’ in UK economy, states ONS data


But manufacturing recorded its ninth consecutive month of growth in January

British industry kicked off 2018 in low gear and a downturn in construction deepened, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today.

Construction output fell by 3.4 per cent in January, suggesting Britain’s economy remains on a slow path ahead of Brexit.

ONS senior statistician Ole Black said that construction “continues to be a weak spot” in the UK economy, with a chunky fall in commercial developments, along with a slowdown in housebuilding contributing to the malaise, after a strong finish to 2017.

Meanwhile, Britain’s manufacturing output inched up only 0.1 per cent month-on-month in January after a 0.3 per cent rise in December, the ONS added. Manufacturing recorded its ninth consecutive month of growth in January — the longest run of growth since 1968.

However, the overall picture was one of slowing momentum. Over the three months to January, manufacturing output rose 0.9 per cent, the weakest pace since mid-2017.

The total trade deficit widened again amid rising oil prices.