Midland Lead Comment: Q1 2022

The first quarter has again been full of unpredictable global circumstances that affected every single business, not least the construction sector.

During the pandemic there was an increase in activity as people invested in making improvements to the home at a level we had not experienced before. Over the last few months things have settled down and it feels like we have returned to prepandemic levels of sales and activity. As well as material shortages, the storms in February had a negative effect as roofers couldn’t work to full capacity, although this is not unusual during the winter months.

But the sector is now bracing itself to face the ongoing challenges of rising costs in logistics, fuel and energy as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. These additional costs, along with the significant increase in container and storage prices and the instability of the situation, makes it difficult for any business to plan effectively. However, we maintain our objective to help reduce the impact on the end-user as much as possible.

Lead is a commodity that has always fluctuated in price, and the price of lead is predicted for the market by the London Metal Exchange. So, suppliers don’t have set prices. The invasion of Ukraine has caused unprecedented volatility every single day and we are seeing extreme fluctuations in the price of lead that are both sporadic and unpredictable. This unfortunately means that it’s impossible to hold quoted trade prices very far ahead.

Last year the sector had to focus on the availability of building materials. This year’s focus is on pricing, as consumer confidence will be affected by the rising cost of living and the impact of the conflict.

It isn’t possible to predict the next few months, but as long as there are projects, the construction sector will continue to maintain good levels of demand and supply.

So, let’s all take a breath and prepare for another unpredictable year. Stay calm and focus on what your business can control such as good customer service, sustainability and maintaining levels of supply.

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