Britain's construction sector completely surprises economists with return to post-Brexit growth

There had been fears of a collapse in house prices in the wake of the referendum result though the most recent market surveys have pointed to a cooling in price growth.

But the PMI suggested optimism among construction firms hit a four-month high, while employment in the sector rose for the first time since April, the PMI survey showed.

Author of the report and IHS Markit senior economist Tim Moore said: "Resilient housing market conditions and a renewed upturn in civil engineering activity helped to drive an overall improvement in construction output volumes for the first time since the European Union referendum".

However, commercial construction activity recorded its longest period of sustained decline in more than three years after falling for the fourth month in a row in September.

Reflecting softer expansion in the services sector, the Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index eased to 52 in September from 54.7 in August.

And overall new orders for United Kingdom construction firms rose in September, following a four-month run of decline.

New orders also ended four months of declines to pick up in September, while housing activity growth was the strongest recorded since January.

Said Annabel Fiddes, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the index: "Singapore's private sector registered its strongest performance in over a year-and-a-half in September".

A separate survey of eurozone manufacturing showed activity in the private sector accelerated in September amid a rise in new orders. The PMI fell to 52.2 from 52.8, just above the flash 52.1 reading but its lowest level since late 2014.

Optimism amongst construction firms was also up, with nearly half of respondents forecasting a rise in output over the year ahead, while 9% anticipated a reduction, the survey found.

Russia's composite output index continued to stay in growth territory in the month.

"Food and petrol prices continued to climb in September, which placed pressure on operating costs". It now expects the United Kingdom economy to grow by 1.3 per cent in 2017, up from a forecast of 0.9 per cent last month. Furthermore, output growth has been seen in each of the last eight months, noted Markit.

Fitch, the rating agency, also nudged up its forecasts for United Kingdom growth this year and next to 1.8 per cent and 1 per cent, from 1.7 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

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