“Despite political uncertainty and turmoil, builders’ merchants’ sales in November were well up compared with last year and have increased in 11 of the last 12 months,” comments John Newcomb, Managing Director BMF.
The latest Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report shows builders’ merchants’ sales to builders and contractors were 12.1% higher in November than in November 2015. They were still 7.0% up when adjusted for one additional trading day this year. Heavy Building Materials was 13.8% ahead. Kitchens & Bathrooms (+12.0%) and Timber and Joinery Products (+10.5%) were also well up.
November was 1.1% higher than October, although 3.5% lower when adjusted for a difference in trading days. Workwear & Safetywear (+20.1%), Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+14.2%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+11.2%) were particularly strong.
Sales in the three months September to November were 5.3% higher than the same three months in 2015. Heavy Building Materials, the largest BMBI category, was 6.2% higher.
Compared with the previous three months (June to August), September to November sales were 0.2% down. Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+17.1%) and Workwear & Safetywear were 13.3% up. Timber & Joinery Products, the second-largest category was 2.3% higher.
Nigel Cox, MD of Timbmet and BMBI’s Expert for Timber & Panel Products comments: “Post Brexit vote turmoil dented confidence in construction, but confidence has returned.
“Price inflation is a concern. Predominantly exchange rate driven, panel product manufacturers in particular are increasing prices on a regular basis. The reality is, these prices will need to be passed on to end users.
“In its 2016 Statistical Review, the Timber Trade Federation confirmed that timber has moved into the top 10 fastest growing UK manufacturing sectors, achieving 11.4% growth in wood products on the previous year. It’s difficult to make realistic forecasts following the referendum vote with so much global uncertainty, but the analysis suggests that 2016’s growth is expected to continue at a slightly lower level in 2017.”
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