LONDON – The latest results about the coatings industry in the UK, which were supplied by the British Coatings Federation, reflect the more positive developments in UK construction and manufacturing activity. Sales volumes in the fourth quarter of 2013 were up seven percent versus the same quarter in 2012, significantly outperforming the overall output numbers for the economy in the same period.

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 over 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. The quarter as a whole was up five percent compared to a year ago.

On the industrial coatings side, the picture is more mixed, but there have been increases in five of the past six 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.