Decorative and industrial coatings sectors performed particularly well, adding support to the view that the UK economy is finally turning the corner, although printing ink and wallcoverings sales remaining subdued.
In the decorative sector, trade paint sales increased for the eighth month in a row with volumes in the last quarter up 11 percent on a year ago boosted by the continued recovery in the housing and construction markets. The results mirror improvements in construction products in general, where growth has increased sharply in recent months and where the outlook remains upbeat for 2014.
Consumer confidence has also improved in recent months and this is now being reflected in the hard pressed retail paint sector which is also beginning to show some encouraging increases in recent months with the last quarter as a whole up five percent on a year ago.
On the industrial coatings side, the picture is more mixed but there have been increases in five of the past 6 months after a very difficult start to 2013. Sales litreage in December was up nine percent and by 2.5 percent for the last quarter as a whole being broadly in line with the growth in UK manufacturing output which is now also showing more steady growth.
“The British Coatings Federation statistics provide a unique barometer for the UK economy, and overall we are outperforming the general manufacturing output numbers with this performance, which should warm the hearts of even the most pessimistic amongst us,” said Tom Bowtell, BCF’s CEO.