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Manufacturers optimistic for the year ahead despite wekened exports

The Construction Products Association’s latest State of Trade Survey for the first quarter of 2015 indicates an eighth consecutive quarter of increasing sales for construction product manufacturers. 

Further growth is anticipated during Q2 and over the next 12 months, supported by domestic demand, exports and a reduction in fuel and energy costs. 

Key points include: 

  • A balance of 50% of heavy side firms and 29% of light side firms reported that sales rose during the first quarter of 2015, compared to a year earlier
  • 69% of heavy side product manufacturers and 57% of light side product manufacturers reported that they anticipate sales rising over the coming year
  • Exports decreased for 25% of heavy side firms and 14% of light side firms
  • 29% of heavy side firms and 20% of light side firms anticipate a rise in exports over the next year
  • Fuel costs fell for 86% of heavy side firms and 83% of light side firms, to the lowest balance recorded in four years of the survey
  • 77% of heavy side firms and 64% of light side firms anticipate increasing investment in research and development (R&D) over the next 12 months

Construction Products Association economist Rebecca Larkin said:  “A rise in first quarter sales was reported by 50% of heavy side firms and 29% of light side firms, compared with the same quarter a year earlier. 

“Some weakness in external demand was noted, as the strong Sterling hindered exports to the Eurozone. 

“Nevertheless, further growth in sales is anticipated over the next 12 months by 69% of heavy side firms and 57% of those on the light side, underpinned by demand both at home and abroad.”

Ms Larkin said product manufacturers appear keen to capitalise on this sustained period of activity and shore up demand in the longer-term. 

Priority areas for investment over the next 12 months, cited by more than two-thirds of firms, were product improvement, research and development and e-business.

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