CIPS confident despite signs of global credit crunch starting to bite

The construction industry ended 2007 in a healthy but cautious state, according to the latest Chartered Institute of Purchasing Supply (CIPS) survey.

Speaking to 135 UK construction purchasing managers, the report revealed an overall purchasing managers’ Index of 56, up from 54.3 in November, signalling what it called the industry’s “robust state of expansion.”

However, despite growth in the commercial and civil engineering sectors, there were signs that the global credit crunch had started to bite with the report showing the first fall in residential construction activity since August 2006.

The report also showed that the future business index, at 66.3, was at its weakest level in more than six years.

Roy Ayliffe, CIPS director of professional practice, said the sector had “regained momentum” in December but that the ongoing effect of price inflation caused by materials shortages had hit confidence.

The employment index was 56.8, above the no-change mark of 50 for the 18th successive month.