Growth for UK construction manufacturing sector
Sales in the UK construction products manufacturing market continued to climb for a consecutive 15th quarter in Q4 of 2016, according to figures published in the CPA’s (Construction Products Association) latest State of Trade Survey.
The construction products manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £55 billion, directly providing jobs for 288,000 people across 22,000 companies. Products range from ‘heavy side’ materials such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete, to ‘light side’ products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting.
As uncertainty intensifies and cost pressures from the fall in sterling post-referendum hit this year, the industry may struggle to experience similar growth, the CPA said. Among heavy side manufacturers only 6% on balance anticipate a rise in sales over 2017 Q1, and 29% on balance of light side manufacturers anticipate a rise during the same period.
Rebecca Larkin, CPA senior economist, said: “Manufacturers’ expectations for 2017 appear to have been tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the economic and political outlook. Heavy side manufacturers appeared most exposed to the effects of sterling’s depreciation during the second half of 2016. In Q4, two-thirds of firms reported an increase in costs, the highest in five years, and a further 89% anticipate an increase over the next year. Rising costs of imported raw materials continue to be a primary driver of cost inflation, but there is now an indication that currency weakness is filtering through to higher energy and fuel costs too.
“The impact of Brexit on the construction industry is, as yet, unclear, but it is unlikely this year will be as buoyant as last unless government is able to provide greater certainty and the industry is able to manage cost pressures.”