Building products up in Q1

Construction product manufacturers have seen strong growth, despite uncertainty and cost increases caused by the Brexit vote.

The latest State of Trade survey from the Construction Products Association (CPA) revealed that 45% of heavy-side manufacturers – which includes steel, bricks, timber and concrete, and 38% light-side firms – which includes glass and lighting, saw an increase in sales in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the previous quarter.

On an annual basis, sales increased by 65% on the heavy side and 38% on the light side in Q1.

The strong quarterly performance also lifted manufacturers’ expectations for growth over the next quarter and year, with 68% of heavy-side and 47% of light-side firms anticipating an increase in sales in the next quarter.

This is a huge uplift when compared with the 6% (heavy side) and 29% (light side) recorded in Q4 last year.

Over the next 12 months, 62% of heavy-side firms and 53% of light-side firms said they expected sales to grow further.

The depreciation of the pound in the second half of 2016 was felt in manufacturers’ cost inflation. In Q1, overall costs for both heavy- and light-side firms were at their highest since Q2 of 2011, with 93% reporting increases in the cost of raw materials, fuel and energy.

Manufacturers also expected price inflation to persist over the next 12 months, with 85% of heavy-side and all of light-side firms anticipating higher costs.

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