UK construction sector growth ground to a near-halt in January as housebuilding activity fell, a key survey has revealed, while a fall in new orders signalled future weakness.

The construction sector report, published yesterday by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, follows a survey from CIPS on Thursday showing UK manufacturing growth slowed in January to its weakest pace since June last year.

The weak surveys will raise worries over the strength of the UK economy, which has been weighed down by Brexit uncertainty and a surge in inflation fuelled by sterling weakness, at the start of 2018.

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CIPS’s seasonally-adjusted construction activity index fell to a four-month low of 50.2 in January, from 52.2 in December, with the latest reading only marginally above the level of 50 deemed to separate expansion from contraction.

The fall in activity in the housebuilding sub-sector followed a 16-month run of expansion. While activity in the commercial property construction and civil engineering sub-sectors rose last month, these increases were only modest.

The survey shows cost pressures for UK construction companies remain “intense”. CIPS highlighted high costs for imported products, against the backdrop of sterling weakness.