The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has reported on a strong year for minerals products, as construction output grew by 6%. Sales volumes for crushed rock, sand and gravel, asphalt and ready-mixed concrete all grew. The figures for concrete are less impressive than those for aggregates (+11%) and asphalt (+8.6%) at +1.7%, due to a higher base for comparison.
Asphalt and crushed rock sales were particularly strong in 2H14 due to increased road construction and maintenance activity as well as more general construction improvements. The increase in sand and gravel (+7.2%) sales reflected general construction growth, particularly in new housing. In the final quarter, aggregates and asphalt were up y/y and ready-mixed concrete was flat, suggesting that construction markets remained positive.
MPA expects further growth in mineral product sales in 2015. However, for sustained construction recovery there needs to be more broadly based growth, both geographically and by type of construction. In 2014, new housing, representing 24% of total construction, increased by 25%. The other 76% of construction output grew by less than 2% in 2014. In terms of regional performance, MPA highlights the uneven state of recovery, pointing to the fact that ready-mixed concrete sales remained 30% below 2007 levels in 2014, except in London, where the market was up 25%.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive MPA, commented: “Construction and mineral products markets remain positive and should continue to improve in 2015, although there are potential downside risks and uncertainties related to political and economic uncertainties in the UK and Eurozone and wider geo-political issues. For the recovery to be sustained it is essential that politicians maintain focus on policies to promote sustained economic growth throughout the UK, by reducing uncertainty wherever possible to build the confidence needed to encourage continuing investment. The recovery continues to need to be nurtured and not taken for granted.”
Adapted from press release by Katherine Guenioui
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/30012015/mpa-reports-on-strong-year-for-uk-minerals-products-245/