First fall in construction materials sales in two years

Heavy-side materials producers reported that the third quarter saw the first decline in sales since the nationwide Covid-19 lockdowns, according to the latest trade survey of Construction Products Association members.

Both heavy-side and light-side manufacturers are also now predicting a decline in sales over the next 12 months due to falling demand.

Their pessimism about the immediate outlook follows the slowdown since the summer in construction activity in  publicly financed projects and a sharp fall in repair & maintenance, against a further deteriorating economic backdrop.

Key survey findings

•    A balance of 12% of heavy-side firms reported that construction products sales fell in Q3 compared with Q2, ending eight quarters of growth
•    17% of light side firms reported product sales rose, the lowest balance since 2020 Q2
•    53% of heavy-side manufacturers and 13% of light-side firms anticipate a fall in sales over the next 12 months
•    Overall costs are expected to increase over the next year, according to balances of 82% on the heavy side and 61% on the light side

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Senior Economist said: “High inflation continues to erode household finances and take big chunks out of project budgets.

“Strong rates of input cost inflation pervade the supply chain and have begun to delay decision-making on construction projects.

“Hopefully some of the unanswered questions around the government’s spending plans will be resolved in the coming months and help to lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over our industry.”

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