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New figures spark fears of recession

The UK's hopes of recovery have been dealt another blow after figures showed construction output shrank in March for the fifth month in a row.

Heavy snowfall and flagging demand hit activity in the construction sector last month, heightening fears the UK is heading for a triple-dip recession.

The latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers index (PMI) recorded a reading of 47.2 last month for construction output – below the 50 mark which separates contraction from expansion.

Economists said hopes of avoiding another recession are pinned on Britain's services sector.

While March construction output was an improvement on February's 40-month low of 46.8, it remains much weaker than the average reading of 54.

Belfast Telegraph