Sterling could drop further this Thursday

The monthly survey of purchasing managers in the construction sector inched down to the lowest reading since June 2009, well into contraction territory. However, the result was better than all forecasts in a poll of economists.

The numbers nevertheless provide another sign that Britain’s economy is at risk of recession after June’s vote to leave the European Union.

The equivalent survey for the manufacturing sector brought worrying signs on Monday. It had been forecast to replicate the results of a one-off flash poll two weeks ago but instead was even weaker.

The construction PMI was the penultimate piece of data the Bank of England sees before it makes a policy decision on Thursday – the services PMI, due on Wednesday, will be the last.

The bank is expected to cut interest rates for the first time since 2009, and some are also forecasting it will announce a new bond-buying programme.

The pound has recovered almost 4 percent against the dollar since a dramatic 14 percent fall after the vote on June 23 to leave the European Union. It gained half a percent against a broadly weaker dollar to $1.3243 on Tuesday.

Sterling remains pressured after weak manufacturing PMI data showed the severity of what is expected to be the start of a prolonged slowdown.

Short bets against the currency are building, especially ahead of Thursday’s rate decision.

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