Construction rebounds after weather freeze

By John-Paul Ford Rojas, Business Reporter
Britain's construction sector bounced back to growth last month after activity was frozen up by snowy weather in March, figures show.
But the better-than-expected recovery for Britain's builders was not enough to revive diminished expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next week.
The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers index (PMI) showed a reading of 52.5 for April, up from 47 in March - on a reading where the 50-mark separates growth from contraction.It was better than the 50.5 reading expected by economists.But the pound was little moved by the update covering a sector representing only 6% of UK economic output, and remained marooned at levels last seen in January.Sterling had fallen to $1.36 against the US dollar a day earlier after a weak PMI update from the manufacturing sector, together with Bank of England data showing a slowdown in consumer credit growth.
That came after official figures on Friday showed GDP growth slowed to 0.1% in the first quarter, sharply reducing the likelihood that there would be an interest rate hike later this week.The latest construction report showed that, smoothing out the sharp fall in March and recovery in April, the sector had been barely growing in the last three months.
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Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit, said the rebound was "pretty well inevitable" in April after the snow disruption - with housebuilding leading the way.But he added: "The recovery from March's low is somewhat underwhelming and provides an indication that the construction sector has been treading water at the very best in recent months."
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