The construction industry is sceptical about the sector's purchasing managers' index, which is a pity. The latest index, for April, shows the index down from March's 56.7 to 55.8, but still well above the 50 level consistent with expansion. March's index was a 21-month high, in contrast to official figures showing falling output.
In Europe, meanwhile, the manufacturing PMI dropped to a worrying 34-month low of 45.9 in April. Even German manufacturing output is in decline, with an index of 46.2.
Last weekend I wrote about the weakness of bank lending. Today's figures show a £1.4 billion increase in lending to individuals in March, compared with £1.3 billion on average for the previous six months. Mortgage approvals rose to 49,860 from 49,029 but were below their previous six-month average of 53,103.
Lending to businesses continues to fall, dropping by £1.7 billion in March, for a 3.4% annual fall. There was stronger growth in the adjusted M4 measure of the money supply, up an annualised 6.4% in the latest three months. But this is still a mixed monetary bag.