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  • A combination of construction cost inflation and a strengthened exchange rate means the UK is now the 8th most expensive country in the world in which to build, according to Arcadis’ 2014 International Construction Costs Report. Switzerland, Denmark and Hong Kong retained their places in the top three of the list. Markedly higher than elsewhere in the UK, Central London construction costs were found to be higher than in any of the countries included in the research.


  • The UK CPI inflation rate fell to 0.5% in December according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The drop in inflation reflects falls in global oil prices that have fed through into lower fuel prices for UK consumers, especially motorists, and falling food prices that have resulted from a supermarket price war. Resulting from these external factors rather than weakness UK economic activity, this fall in inflation will boost the UK economy as consumers have more money available for discretionary spending on goods and leisure.
  • The profitability of UK non-financial corporations has improved markedly according to the latest ONS estimates. The net rate of return for UK companies was 12% in the third quarter of 2014, the highest recorded since 2006. This improvement was in spite of a sharp decline in returns for the UK offshore oil and gas sector, which has seen by far the worst levels of profitability since the survey began in 1997. By contrast profitability in the service sector reached a survey high level of 16.8%, while a 10.9% net rate of return in the manufacturing sector was the highest since the beginning of 2002.

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