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Sun June 13 2021

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Ready-mixed concrete sales up 18%

29 Jul 13 Rising sales of aggregates provide further evidence that UK construction activity may be turning a corner and looking at recovery.

Following a poor first quarter, 2013 second quarter sales volumes increased by 14% for crushed rock aggregates, 9% for sand and gravel aggregates, 18% for ready-mixed concrete and 9% for asphalt, all compared with the same period of 2012.

However, the Mineral Products Association (MPA)said that its survey results, while welcome, reflected some carry-over of work from the first quarter due to bad weather. A better guide to underlying market change is a comparison of the first six months of 2013 against the first six months of 2012, it said. These figures have been improving in recent months and the overall aggregates moving annual trend for June is down 1% (comprising a 2% increase in crushed rock and 6% decline for sand and gravel).

The MPA said that despite the rise in private housebuilding from the extremely low levels of activity in 2012, there remain many depressed areas of construction. The 12% decline for asphalt sales volumes, for example, highlights that road markets remain constrained following the 41% decline in road construction in 2012.

MPA chief economist Jerry McLaughlin said: “Private housebuilding has improved,  but this sector represents only 14% of construction and it is sobering to see the latest GDP figures showing that construction output in the first half year was 4% lower than the same period of 2012.

“However, the better MPA figures suggest that more construction work is under way and that this market should flatten out during 2013. For a sustained recovery, however, we need government to deliver fully on the infrastructure commitments made in the 2012 autumn statement and for the increased confidence in the housing market to spread to other construction sectors.”

Aggregate sales trends

% change over same period of previous year

2012 Q1

2012 Q2

2012 Q3

2012 Q4

2012 Year

2013 Q1

2013 Q2

2013 Jan-June

2013
12 months to June

Crushed rock

-13

-10

-4

+1

-7

-3

+14

+5

+2

Sand & gravel

-12

-15

-11

-11

-12

-12

+9

-1

-6

Asphalt

-17

-16

-20

-16

-18

-18

+9

-5

-12

Ready-mixed  concrete

-11

-11

-9

-4

-9

-4

+18

+7

0

Cement*

-5

-10

-8

-7

-7

-7

na*

na*

na*

* Cement refers to all cementitious materials – data not yet available for Q2 2013

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