Highway materials sales continue to grow

May 6 2015  

Highway materials sales continue to grow
Encouraging signs of further recovery in the roads sector have been noted by the Mineral Products Association. It reports increased sales of aggregates and asphalt during the first quarter of 2015 compared to the last three months of 2014.
Crushed rock sales are up 2.2%, sand and gravel sales are up 3.6% and asphalt sales are up 1.2%. But there are signs of a slowdown in the pace of growth over the last year, especially in terms of asphalt which had seen increased sales of 5.2% in quarter four of 2014, 3.1% in quarter three and 3.4% in quarter two.
And to put the latest growth figures into context sales volumes for asphalt remain 15% below their pre-recession peak and aggregate sales remain 25% down. 
Mineral Products Association chief executive Nigel Jackson said: “Demand for our sector’s materials, which are critical to construction, has continued to grow in quarter one suggesting that construction activity remains buoyant.
“We believe that recent preliminary Office for National Statistics construction data may be underestimating actual levels of activity and await later revisions to confirm the true picture. However the official data does highlight that construction activity is essential to a continuing economic recovery,” he added.
“A new Government must ensure that uncertainty is minimised to boost confidence to encourage sustained public and private investment in construction following the election.”
Road surfacing company Toppesfield's chief executive Matthew Pryor said: “The MPA figures reflect a buoyancy in the market over the past six months, although looking ahead there remains a degree of apprehension and uncertainty due to the General Election.
"In particular the industry is keen to see if the budgets remain unaffected post Election. Investment in construction and the road network are essential to the continuing economic recovery, and we expect that if there is a different Government it will not take an alternative view."
He added: “I am surprised to see that the increase in asphalt sales is up only by just over 1%. In the Midlands and the south we would expect growth to be in the region of 5%, which would suggest that in other areas it remains low."
(Photo: Mineral Products Association)

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