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West Midlands trade body and university partnership develops innovative market forecast model

Nyssa Patel

Coventry-based trade body The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has joined forces with Birmingham City University (BCU) to develop an innovative forecast report for a multi-billion-pound industry.

The BMF’s ‘Builders Merchants Industry Forecast 2019-2021,’ has been developed to provide a comprehensive analysis and forecast of the Builders Merchant sector.

It has been produced by BMF’s Industry Analyst and Economist Nyssa Patel, with the assistance of the Knowledge, Exchange & Enterprise Network (KEEN) project partnership at BCU.

The forecast aims to support the Federation’s 684 merchant and supplier companies in BMF membership – who have combined sales of £31.4 billion and employ more than 128,000 people – with future planning by providing consistent quarterly updates on forecasted industry sales.

It includes key statistics, as well as the general economic performance and outlook, with commentary on inflation, wage growth, the labour market and economic growth.

The publication of the report marks the completion of a seven-month project.

Ms Patel, an Economics graduate of Loughborough University, said: “The econometric forecast model uses sales out data from the BMF’s existing Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI), coupled with other key variables to forecast what is likely to happen in the next 12 months and beyond.

“It is based on five significant variables that correlate with builders’ merchants’ sales, namely Repair, Maintenance and Improvement, Weekly Household Income, Season, All New Work and Number of Trading Days (per month).

“The end result is really extensive data, which gives a real insight into how the building industry, across a wide-range of sectors, is performing.”

Data for the report will be updated every three months releasing quarterly editions, providing the industry with timely, key data, as well as analysts and the press with a barometer of economic performance across the building materials sector, which is a significant contributor to the UK economy and GDP.

The first issue of the Industry Forecast – the April 2019 edition – is entitled the ‘Brexit Edition,’ and includes an analysis of the likely implications of a Soft and Hard Brexit scenario for the period 2019-2021, as well as setting out a baseline growth forecast for this year.

It reveals an average year-on-year growth for 2019 as forecasted to be 4.8% according to the baseline forecast.

However, this figure does not directly consider Brexit implications. Under the assumptions of Soft and Hard Brexit scenarios for the same year, the forecast cites the average year-on-year growth as 3.8% and 3.4% respectively.

To request a copy of the report, contact Nyssa Patel, BMF Industry Analyst/Economist on 024 76 854 994 or nyssa.patel@bmf.org.uk.