News for Tool Hire, Equipment Hire & Plant Hire and Rental Professionals

More optimistic mood

15 May 2024

More optimistic mood

The latest report from the Construction Leadership Council’s Material Supply Chain Group (formerly Product Availability Group) continues to show good levels of product availability across the board.

However, group Co-Chairs John Newcomb, who is CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, and Peter Caplehorn, CEO of the Construction Products Association, mention reports of price volatility affecting two specific product areas, timber related products and PIR (polyisocyanurate) insulation boards, feeding into housing projects.

A steady increase in timber prices was predicted last year and is the result of reduced production and stock in a slowing market. The main concern relates to PIR insulation where prices have increased significantly due to issues around the supply of chemicals used in their manufacture. A continued rise in demand could drive further price increases, says the group.

Supply lines via the Red Sea continue to be managed with only slight delays, although there are reports of increased container costs on this route.  The group is also aware that hostilities in the region have the potential to widen and are monitoring this to assess the potential impact on other routes.

In addition, the Asia/UK route is seeing further bottlenecks caused by prolonged drought reducing traffic through the Panama Canal.

Throughout the year, sales through builders’ merchants have shown a direct relationship between the weather and construction activity. As mentioned previously on the blog, inclement weather dampened demand for landscaping and groundworks throughout the first quarter, but more recent spring-like conditions have driven an improvement in demand.

The group also detects a mood of greater optimism as the industry moves into the summer, with many saying they are now planning for an uptick at the year end and into 2025.

Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

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