Investing.com - U.K. construction sector activity unexpectedly strengthened in April, settling below consensus and dampening optimism over the British real estate market, industry data showed on Wednesday.
In a report, market research firm Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) said that their U.K. construction purchasing managers' index rose to a seasonally adjusted 53.1 last month from March's reading of 52.2.
Economists had expected the index to slip to 52.0 in April.
On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates expansion, below indicates contraction.
Markit noted that this was the sharpest rise in total construction output so far in 2007 and attributed the improvement to civil engineering projects that registered their fastest rate of expansion in the past 13 months.
"April's survey reveals a positive start to the second quarter of 2017, with a robust upturn in civil engineering activity helping to boost the construction industry," Markit senior economist Tim Moore commented in the report.
Moore further pointed out that the house building sector showed encouraging signs though the commercial building sector remained subdued.
Following the report, GBP/USD traded at 1.2923 compared to 1.2922 ahead of the release, EUR/GBP was at 0.8443 compared to 0.8442 earlier, while GBP/JPY traded at 144.99 compared to 144.95 previously.
Meanwhile, European stock markets traded mostly lower. London's FTSE 100 dropped 0.36%, the Euro Stoxx 50 lost 0.16%, France's CAC 40 traded lower 0.30%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.22%.
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