The Mineral Products Association has warned of a grim 2012 for the industry after releasing figures showing that sales of key construction materials has fallen dramatically in the last three months.
Compared with the same period of 2011, sales volumes of crushed rock and sand and gravel aggregates declined by 13% and 12% respectively in the first three months of 2012 and sales volumes of ready-mixed concrete and asphalt fell by 9% and 17%.
These products represent by far the largest flow of materials into construction markets and are used extensively throughout the construction sector. The figures follow a slightly positive overall performance in 2011 and suggest that construction activity is now in decline following some recovery from the depths of the recession in 2009.
“These figures represent real deliveries of materials to construction projects, not opinion survey data, and they indicate that there is a real likelihood that construction activity will fall away and constrain economic recovery as we move through 2012 and 2013,” warned MPA chief economist Jerry McLaughlin.
“Outside the strong construction markets of Greater London and parts of south east England, lack of demand is becoming critical as public investment in construction falls away and there is little private sector construction growth to fill the gap,” he said.