Timber and joinery products drive positive trend for UK builders merchants' sales
The latest data released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirms a continuing positive trend for UK builders merchants with Q2 sales increasing by 5.3% compared to Q2 2016.
The actual Q2 year on year sales figure (for 61 days trading compared to 63 in 2016) is still positive at +1.9%. Year to date sales figures to June are 3.8% higher than for 2016, a period with the same number of trading days.
Significantly, value growth year on year for the first half of 2017 was driven by the major categories of Timber and Joinery (+4.6% – particularly Cladding and Stairs and Stair Parts) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.1% – primarily Lintels, Roofing Products and Bricks and Blocks). In the picture here you can see the development of timber and joinery products' sales.
Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet and BMBI’s Expert for Timber & Panel Products, commented: "Our view in Quarter 1 was that the market for Timber and Panel Products looked promising and that we should be optimistic for the year. In reality the second quarter has been more challenging than expected."
"The run up to the election and the surprise result created uncertainty and confusion - and political uncertainty, whether domestic or foreign, continues to influence trade and impact our markets. At best we can say quarter two’s performance was flat. The market for hardwood timber though is stable with no major supply issues."
"European oak remains popular and with the traditional summer closing of the mills, the supply chain will slow and there could be a short term impact on stocks during August and September. The OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sector is still difficult and is feeling the effects of shortages as demand continues to outstrip supply."
"Prices remain volatile and continue to rise. Additional production capacity will ease the situation as we enter 2018. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) supply chain shortages eased slightly in Quarter 2 compared to the previous quarter but product availability has stayed on allocation which in turn leads to continued pricing pressure."
"The well-publicised and tragic fire at Grenfell Tower has shaken our industry and raised concern over building regulations and standards. Various timber and panel products are fire treated and the increased demand is impacting on the lead time for treated products. Merchants are encouraged to check availability well in advance of requirements. In summary, we had a bumpy second quarter and the outlook for the next three months is modest."
The complete BMBI report can be downloaded here.