In the latest results from CAB’s ‘State of Trade Survey’ from Q4 2012 there is, however, a degree of cautious optimism – firstly 12% of members on net balance reported that sales were higher than a year ago and secondly 16% of members, on net balance, anticipated a rise in quarterly sales in 2013 Q1, with the same number predicting higher sales volumes over the next 12 months. The quarterly State of Trade Survey organised in conjunction with the Construction Products Association (CPA) utilises a balance of respondents to identify trends.A positive balance of respondents means that the percentage of firms reporting a rise is more than the proportion of firms reporting a decline. Some figures were disappointing, but probably seasonal, with a net balance of 4% of CAB members reporting a fall in Q4 sales volumes compared to 30% of members who reported a rise in Q3. In the construction sector overall New Build output fell in the last quarter of 2012 and New Housing output flatlined. Despite the gloom though opportunities still exist in Infrastructure, the Schools Programme and the Energy Sector.
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In 2013, 24% of CAB members on balance predict a rise in employment in the next twelve months which should lead through to higher output in the longer term. However costs continue to rise and compared to 2011 Q4, a net balance of 44% of members stated that unit costs rose with increases in fuel and energy costs driving inflation. With prices continuing to be squeezed within the New Build Sector, CAB member companies are looking at the Commercial and Residential Refurbishment Sector for new business. As fewer people move home, more home improvement work is being commissioned and aluminium is quickly becoming the prime choice.
CAB members, who all receive detailed analysis of the survey, confirmed further optimism with the feedback from the survey showing that investment in both Plant & Equipment and R&D is predicted to be higher in 2013 than a year ago.
For more information about CAB, its 2013 events programme and membership please contact Julie Harley at the CAB office on01453 82 8851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org