Optimism over prospects in construction is the highest since June 1999, according to economic indicators released this week.
The Chartered Institute of Purchasing Supply's total construction activity index rose to 55.5 in December, from 54.3 in November. (Fifty indicates no change in activity.)

The December BuildOnline/ CIPS purchasing managers' survey also showed an upturn in commercial activity, although it indicated that the rate of acceleration was slowing.

Housing activity was up at 52.1, civil engineering at 52.9, new orders at 61.0, the price index at 63.9, suppliers' delivery times at 41.5 and employment at 55.5.