Manufacturers boosted by falling fuel costs

Posted on 13 Feb 2015 by The Manufacturer

The Construction Products Association's (CPA) latest State of Trade Survey for Q4 2014 indicates manufacturers of construction products had a continued growth in sales.

The survey shows a further increase in sales is expected for 2015, and optimism extends beyond the domestic market, with increased demand from overseas markets anticipated during 2015.

It reported 61% of heavy side product manufacturers and 60% of light side product manufacturers reported they anticipate sales rising over the coming year and 33% of firms on both the heavy and light side reported that costs rose in Q4 compared with a year earlier.

CPA economist Rebecca Larkin said: “survey results reflect the fact the recovery in construction is broadening from private housing to commercial, industrial and infrastructure. Growth in sales of construction products was reported by both heavy side and light side manufacturers, suggesting increased activity at all stages of the building process.”

She added: “The of Trade Survey revealed sales growth in Q4 was also supported by favourable exchange rate conditions, which helped drive external demand from outside the Eurozone. Furthermore, against this backdrop, more than half of heavy and light side manufacturers anticipate exports will continue to rise over the next 12 months.”

The CPA said firms also increased their headcount in the year to Q4 in response to these higher sales and reflecting the positive outlook going forward.

Larkin said: “Hiring intentions for the coming 12 months remain strong: 61% of heavy side firms and 40% of light side firms plan to increase employment in 2015.

“In addition to rising demand, manufacturers’ optimism was no doubt boosted by receding cost pressures. The downward shift in global oil prices reduced fuel costs for the majority (61%) of heavy side firms in Q4, the first negative balance recorded in the survey.”

In total, 44% of heavy side firms and 87% of light side firms reported sales rose during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the CPA.