The Markets

The OECD economic agency has sharply increased its growth forecast for the UK economy this year to 1.5% from an earlier estimate of 0.8%. It said UK growth had gained momentum through the first half of the year.

The forecast came as a survey indicated that activity in the UK construction sector grew at its fastest pace for nearly six years in August.

On Monday, a similar survey had shown strong growth in the manufacturing sector.

Recent data and surveys have pointed to an acceleration in the UK’s economic recovery.

‘Impressive’ performance
The OECD’s UK growth forecast came as part of its latest assessment of global prospects. The body said that global growth was set to remain sluggish, as problems in emerging economies offset improving recoveries in some advanced economies.

However, it cited the UK, North America and Japan as places where activity was expanding at “encouraging rates”.

Also on Tuesday there was an upbeat report on the UK building industry.

The latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the UK’s construction industry indicated further improvement in the sector, with residential building leading the way.

The PMI reading rose to 59.1 in August, up from 57.0 in July and the highest reading since September 2007. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

“The latest construction PMI figures are yet another indication that the UK economy has performed impressively over the summer months,” said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

“A steep upturn in civil engineering activity suggested that public sector demand has joined residential building as a key driver of construction output growth during August.”

On Monday, the PMI survey for the manufacturing sector found the strongest growth in activity for two and a half years, with output and new orders rising at their fastest rate for 19 years.

Source: BBC