Forex — Sterling hits day’s lows as U.K. construction sector slows

The pound fell to session lows against the dollar on Tuesday after data showing that activity in the U.K. construction sector slowed to a nine-month low in January, indicating a subdued start to the year in 2016.
GBP/USD hit lows of 1.4328 and was last at 1.4358, off 0.51% for the day.
The Markit U.K. construction purchasing managers’ index fell 55.0 last month from December’s 57.8. Economists’ had expected a more modest decline to 57.5.
Softer new business growth acted as a brake on output growth and staff hiring at the start of 2016, with job creation easing to its slowest for almost two-and-a-half years.
Construction firms reported the lowest business confidence since December 2014.
“U.K. construction firms struggled for momentum at the start of this year, with heightened economic uncertainty acting as a brake on new orders and contributing to one of the weakest rises in output levels since the summer of 2013,” Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit said.
The data came one day after a similar survey showing that U.K. factory activity grew at the fastest rate in three months in January, but new export orders fell as the strong pound weighed and firms cut staffing levels.
The pound extended losses against the euro, with EUR/GBP rising to 0.7617 from 0.7600 earlier.

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