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Sun February 28 2021

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Aggregate sales continue to rebound

1 May 14 After diving to historically low levels, sales of heavy building materials remain firmly on the rise.

Data from the Mineral Products Association (MPA) shows that sales of aggregate, asphalt and concrete enjoyed strong first-quarter growth, consolidating the increases seen last year.

Aggregates and asphalt sales volumes were about 17% higher in Q1 2014 than Q1 2013 and ready mixed concrete sales were 5% up.

However, the Q1 volumes in 2013 were historically low and markets had yet to see the benefits of the sharp pick up in housing activity that began in April 2013. Q1 2014 volumes were in fact slightly lower than the very strong Q4 2013 volumes, but the underlying performance over the two quarters suggests that construction market improvements are extending beyond housing and beyond London and the southeast, the MPA said.

The improvement in aggregates sector sales in recent quarters points to stronger general construction growth in the months ahead as these materials come at the front end of the construction cycle.

MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson said: “These first quarter figures add weight to the signs of recovery seen in 2013 and provide evidence that we are now seeing a more sustained improvement in construction markets. However we remain over 25% below pre-recession levels of activity and we are very aware of the caution expressed by the chancellor that the recovery has some way to go. Government needs to maintain a relentless focus on recovery, notably the delivery of repeatedly announced infrastructure projects, to ensure businesses throughout the UK have the opportunity to grow and invest.”

The table below give sales trends by volume of material sold for a consistent sample of Mineral Products Association members comprising the following proportions of total GB markets: Crushed Rock aggregates 80%; Sand & Gravel aggregates 80%; Asphalt 80%; Ready-mixed concrete 60%; Cement 85%.

% change over same period of previous year

2012 Q3

2012 Q4

2012 YEAR

2013 Q1

2013 Q2

2013 Q3

2013 Q4

2013
YEAR

2014 Q1

Crushed Rock

-4

+1

-7

-3

+15

+7

+10

+8

+18

Sand & Gravel

-12

-11

-13

-10

+11

+12

+18

+8

+15

Asphalt

-20

-16

-17

-18

+9

+11

+14

+4

+17

Ready mixed  Concrete

-9

-4

-9

-2

+23

+12

+12

+12

+5

Cement

-8

-7

-7

-7

+10

+13

na**

+10*

na**

*2013 change in total cementitious sales volumes

** Cement data is now published on an annual basis only in line with recent demands from the Competition Commission, to limit the flow of information between competing suppliers. See our reports on this subject here competition-commission-sets-out-plans-for-cement-market-reform and here what-is-it-about-cement

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