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  • There has been a 42% decline in the number of construction companies in critical distress in the third quarter, according to the Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert report. 494 companies were in critical distress, down from 516 three months earlier and 855 a year ago. 13,862 companies faced ‘significant’ problems, down 38% on a year ago but up 21% on quarter two of this year.
  • Sales volumes of aggregates, asphalt and ready mixed concrete rose by between 9% and 11% in the third quarter, according to the Mineral Products Association. This rise was attributed mainly to a rise in house-building but further supports the view that general construction activity is picking up.
  • The housing market continues to gather pace: the Nationwide House Price Index for October reported prices up by 5.8% annually and by 1.0% on the previous month. In September there were 66,735 mortgage approvals, the highest since February 2008, and the average rate on new mortgages fell to a record low of 3.08%, according to separate data releases from the Bank of England.


  • There was a surprise fall in consumer confidence; GfK’s monthly consumer confidence index fell to -11 from -10. The fall came as energy firms announced sharp price increases and the rising cost of living has been high in the political and media agenda. Overall this is a small dip; the index in October was 20 points higher than a year ago.
  • Retail sales growth also suffered an unexpected blip. A balance of +2% of respondents to October’s CBI distributive trades survey reported sales volumes up on a year ago, compared to +35% in September. However a balance of +23% expect to return to growth next month.

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