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MPA results add weight to signs of recovery

Nigel Jackson

Strong first-quarter sales volumes point to positive start to 2014 for mineral products and construction sectors

MINERAL Products Association (MPA) results for the first quarter of 2014 indicate significant increases in sales volumes over the same period of 2013, albeit lower than the last quarter of 2013.

Aggregates and asphalt sales volumes were around 17% higher and ready-mixed concrete sales were 5% up in the first quarter of 2014.


However, the MPA says these strong volumes need to be put in the context that first-quarter volumes in 2013 were historically low and markets had yet to see the benefits of the sharp pick up in housing activity from April 2013.

First-quarter 2014 volumes are, in fact, slightly lower than the very strong volumes in the fourth quarter of 2013, but the underlying performance over the two quarters suggests that construction market improvements are extending beyond housing and beyond London and the South East.

This week’s provisional GDP figures indicated only modest construction growth of 0.3% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the fourth quarter of 2013, but the improvement in aggregates sector sales in recent quarters points to stronger general construction growth through 2014.

Nigel Jackson (pictured), chief executive of the MPA, commented: ‘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 more than 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.’

*Commenting on the provisional first quarter GDP figures, the Chancellor said: ‘Today’s figures show that Britain is coming back – but we can’t take that for granted. We have to carry on working through our long term economic plan…’


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