MPA cautious over gains
First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
Sales of aggregates, cement, ready mixed concrete and asphalt in the UK were all up in the second quarter of this year, compared to 2009. Despite the growth, the Mineral Products Association has said that these gains do not signal the start of a sustained recovery in the quarry industry.
The MPA has said that the 10% rise in asphalt sales was mainly due to emergency repairs as well as the progress of some major road contracts.
The rise in aggregate sales reflected the increase in road sector activity, but also the more general improvement in ready mixed concrete sales – public sector construction has continued to grow in the first half of 2010 and there has been a modest increase in housing starts. However, all of the increases recorded were based on historically low levels of market activity in 2009.
“In spite of these welcome improvements there are, however, no indications of sustained growth in either the mineral products or construction sectors,” said MPA executive director Simon van der Byl. “High levels of mainly public sector investment in health, education and infrastructure have boosted construction spending in recent months but the government has announced very significant reductions in future investment which will significantly impact associated construction activity as existing projects are completed and not replaced.
“There is little likelihood of any significant improvement in private sector construction work over the next eighteen months therefore the recent improvements in mineral products and construction markets will be short-lived.”