Thursday, 19 February 2015

Sales of Construction Products continue to grow says new CPA survey

Manufacturers of construction products saw sales rise at the end of 2014 according to the Construction Products Association (CPA).

The CPA’s latest State of Trade Survey for the fourth quarter of 2014 showed that sales continued to grow, driven by an increase in exports and falling fuel costs.

A further increase in sales is expected for 2015 with an increased demand from overseas markets anticipated.

During the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2014 44% of heavy side firms and 87% of light side firms reported that sales rose. Additionally, 61% of heavy side product manufacturers and 60% of light side product manufacturers reported that they anticipate sales rising over the coming year.

The report also showed 33% of firms on both the heavy and lightside reported that costs rose in Q4 compared with a year earlier.

Fuel costs fell for 61% of heavy side firms and 20% of lightside firms, to the lowest balance recorded in the survey.

Survey respondents also reported an increase in exports during Q4 with 18% of heavy side manufacturers and 25% of light side firms reporting an increase. Optimism amongst manufacturers was further highlighted with 50% of heavy side firms and 70% of light side firms anticipating a rise in exports during 2015.

Rebecca Larkin, economist, Construction Products Association said:  “The latest survey results reflect the fact that the recovery in construction is broadening from private housing to commercial, industrial and infrastructure.  Growth in sales of construction products was reported by both heavy side and light side manufacturers, suggesting increased activity at all stages of the building process.

“Sales growth in Q4 was also supported by favourable exchange rate conditions, which helped drive external demand from outside the Eurozone.  Furthermore, against this backdrop, more than half of heavy and light side manufacturers anticipate exports will continue to rise over the next 12 months.

“Firms also increased their headcount in the year to Q4 in response to these higher sales and reflecting the positive outlook going forward. Hiring intentions for the coming 12 months remain strong: 61% of heavy side firms and 40% of light side firms plan to increase employment in 2015.

“In addition to rising demand, manufacturers’ optimism was no doubt boosted by receding cost pressures. The downward shift in global oil prices reduced fuel costs for the majority (61%) of heavy side firms in Q4, the first negative balance recorded in the survey.”

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