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Engineering construction up, bucks overall decline

The overall PCI rose by 10.4 points to 46.9, but remained below the key 50-point level that separates expansion from contraction.In contrast, engineering construction activity expanded, with the sub-index increasing by 13.6 points to 50.7. Although this represented a marginal rate of growth in May, it was the first increase registered over the past 10 months.Ai Group associate director Tony Pensabene said the data was evidence that the industry was starting to recover some ground following the significant deterioration during 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. “This was particularly noticeable in the house building sector where the pace of decline in both activity and new orders eased markedly, with companies linking this to the positive impact of lower interest rates and the First Home Owners Grant Scheme,” he said.“These developments are adding weight to the likelihood of firmer housing activity in coming months.“There was also a better tone in other areas of the industry with work on apartment and commercial building projects exhibiting less marked rates of decline, while engineering construction moved back into positive territory, although the level of growth was marginal.”

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