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MPA reports further decline in sales volumes

AGGREGATES, cement, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt sales volumes all continued to decline sharply during the first quarter of 2009, according to the latest quarterly survey of construction material trends by the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

Compared with the first quarter of 2008, cement fell by 31%, crushed-rock aggregates by 32%, sand and gravel aggregates by 27%, ready-mixed concrete sales by 33% and asphalt sales by 19%.

The first-quarter volumes were also lower than the fourth quarter of 2008, with cement down by 14%, crushed rock by 7%, sand and gravel by 10%, ready-mixed concrete by 20% and asphalt by 14%.


Taking into account the sharp fall in orders for new construction work placed in recent months, the MPA is warning that construction and aggregates sector trends are expected to see further substantial falls throughout 2009.

‘Aggregates and cement markets have dropped steeply since mid-2008, and the first-quarter figures are a graphic illustration of how the construction sector has been hit by the recession,’ said MPA executive director Simon van der Byl.

‘In these circumstances, it is particularly regrettable that the Chancellor did not use the Budget to provide a real stimulus to public investment and the economy.

‘There is a real opportunity to use the capacity of the sector to generate sustainable improvements to the quality of the country’s infrastructure and public services, but instead the Budget set out a significant decline in public investment after 2010.

‘We know there are outstanding needs for the products of the aggregates, cement and related sectors to contribute to more-effective transport networks, new energy-generation capacity, more energy-efficient new housing and many other improvements to the quality of our buildings and structures.

‘It is very disappointing that these opportunities are not being grasped by the Government.’


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