The Mineral Products Association (MPA) reports that sales volumes of aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt improved again in the first quarter of 2015. Seasonally-adjusted results, which provide a consistent quarter-by-quarter comparison, indicated that UK crushed rock and sand and gravel sales volumes rose by 2.2 and 3.6 per cent, respectively compared to 4Q14. Ready-mixed concrete and asphalt sales were up by 1.3 and 1.2 per cent up. Annual sales of cement grew by 7.8 per cent in 2014.
To put these improvements into a longer-term perspective, the latest quarterly volumes for asphalt, aggregates and concrete remain 15, 25 and 30 per cent below the pre-recession peak, respectively. Therefore, there remains significant scope for further improvements in minerals products and construction markets, particularly outside London and notably in non-housing markets.
Nigel Jackson, CEO of MPA, commented: “Demand for our sector’s materials, which are critical to construction, has continued to grow in 1Q suggesting that construction activity remains buoyant. We believe that recent preliminary ONS construction data may be underestimating actual levels of activity and await later revisions to confirm the true picture.
"However, the official data do highlight that construction activity is essential to a continuing economic recovery and a new Government must ensure that uncertainty is minimised to boost confidence to encourage sustained public and private investment in construction following the election.”