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MPA welcomes improvement in sales volumes

Jerry McLaughlin

Welcome growth in mineral product sales in 2013 but markets still remain 30% below pre-recession levels

MINERAL Products Association (MPA) survey results for 2013 indicate a good improvement in sales volumes of aggregates, asphalt and ready-mixed concrete in the final quarter and for the year as a whole.

Last year sales volumes of aggregates increased by 6% while concrete sales were up 11% and asphalt sales were 4% higher than in 2012. Following a poor first quarter, industry volumes started picking up in April and fourth-quarter sales remained positive.

 

The figures reflect the sharp improvement in housing starts following the first quarter, with housing-related material sales 25% higher in the final nine months of 2013 than the same period of 2012.

The MPA figures also indicate that some improvement is beginning to be seen in construction markets other than housing and that such signs of improvement are evident throughout Great Britain, albeit somewhat unevenly.

However, as with the housing and construction statistics, the MPA results need to be considered in context, and the Association says that compared with pre-recession activity levels, the aggregates, asphalt and concrete markets still remain some 30% down.

Jerry McLaughlin (pictured), MPA director of public & economic affairs, commented: ‘The improving trends over the past nine months are very welcome but, of course, come from a very low base. 2012 was very negative for our industry and construction, and the 2013 volumes broadly get us back to where we were in 2011.

‘We need to see significantly more growth in business throughout Great Britain before we can talk about recovery with greater confidence. As such, it is vital that government continues to focus on sustained economic growth, delivery of outstanding infrastructure projects, more housing, and measures designed to encourage confidence to invest.’

 

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