Growth in the construction sector slowed in July, according to a new survey, as the weakness of the euro pushed up the cost of imports.

The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index stands at 59.1, above the 50-mark which indicates growth.

This was lower than the figure recorded in June, however, which stood at 65.7.

Respondents to the survey reported higher costs for imported items due to the weak euro, while suppliers also came under pressure from increased orders which impacted delivery times.

Despite this the month saw a rise in activity, new orders and employment during the month – particularly around commercial construction.

The PMI shows that new orders have now risen for 25 months in a row, while staffing levels have grown in each of the past 23 months.

Optimism amongst respondents was also at its highest point since the survey began in June 2000, as they anticipated further growth in the wider economy in the months ahead.