Aggregates and Cement Market Decline Highlights the Severity of the Construction Recession
Aggregates, cement, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt sales volumes continued to decline sharply in the first quarter of 2009. In comparison with the first quarter of 2008 cement fell by 31%, crushed rock aggregates by 32%, sand and gravel aggregates by 27%, ready mixed concrete sales by 33% and asphalt sales by 19%.
The first quarter volumes were also lower than the fourth quarter of 2008, cement by 14%, crushed rock by 7%, sand and gravel by 10%, ready mixed concrete by 20% and asphalt by 14%. The figures indicate that construction activity is falling away rapidly and taking into account the sharp fall in orders for new construction work placed in recent months the construction and aggregates sector trends will experience substantial falls throughout 2009.
MPA Executive Director Simon van der Byl commented: "aggregates and cement markets have dropped steeply since mid 2008, and the first quarter figures are a graphic illustration of how the construction sector has been hit by the recession. In these circumstances it is particularly regrettable that the Chancellor did not use the Budget to provide a real stimulus to public investment and the economy. There is a real opportunity to use the capacity of the sector to generate sustainable improvements to the quality of our infrastructure and public services, but instead the Budget set out a significant decline in public investment after 2010.
We know there are outstanding needs for the products of the aggregates, cement and related sectors to contribute to more effective transport networks, new energy generation capacity, more energy efficient new housing and many other improvements to the quality of our buildings and structures. It is very disappointing that these opportunities are not being grasped by Government."
To see the graph of materials trends, click here.