Amidst the furore of the Conservative Party Conference and Boris Johnson’s attack on Theresa May, there was the small matter of the UK construction PMI for September. Economists had predicted a fall to 52.5 from 52.9 the previous month, but the actual reading was 52.1. It shows the slowest expansion in the construction sector for six months.
Perhaps more worrying than that was the fact that business confidence across the sector fell to its second-lowest level for more than five years, despite the fact that new orders picked up. It appears as if continuing Brexit uncertainty is still dampening confidence – and if yesterday’s speeches taught us nothing else, it is that the government still cannot agree on what the best way forward for Brexit is. That is unlikely to imbue any sector with confidence and these do seem to be worrying times at the moment. There are now 177 days until Brexit.
Nationwide housing prices showed that property prices in London fell for the fifth quarter in a row, although the average cost of a house in the capital is still more than twice the national average. Month-on-month, UK house prices crept up by 0.3% in September, following the sharpest monthly drop for six years in August. On an annual basis, prices grew at 2% – the same as the previous month.
Today we will see services PMI for September and another day of Conservative Party Conference shenanigans.