Need any help? Call us on

+44 (0) 1270 258200

CBA News

CBA Supply Chain Trends March 2015

25 March 2015


The Chemical Business Association’s (CBA) fifth Supply Chain Trends Survey reports that sales momentum is faltering and sales margins are under pressure.

“Our March 2015 snapshot of trading conditions is something of a turnaround from the results of our survey in September last year. The short-term impact on order books, sales volumes and margins probably reflects the volatility of currency movements over the last six months,” said CBA’s Chairman, Dr Steven Cartlidge.  “On the plus side, more than a third of respondents to the survey expect to increase employment levels during the next three months,” he added.

The following results are based on responses from 52 member companies to an on-line survey conducted in mid-March.

• ORDER BOOKS – declining trend over last three months
The March 2015 survey shows a decline in the volume of orders, with CBA member companies reporting a positive balance of +36%, down from +54% in the last survey.

• SALES – current sales momentum faltering; three-month outlook stable
Over the last three months, fewer CBA member companies have experienced sales growth.  The March 2015 survey shows a positive balance of +29% companies reporting higher sales, compared with +44% in the last survey.  Companies remain relatively optimistic in relation to the outlook for future sales with a positive balance of +44% forecasting increased sales, up slightly from +40% in the last survey.

• SALES MARGINS – current margins under pressure; outlook flat
The March 2015 survey reveals continuing pressure on current sales margins with more than one third (34%) of respondents experiencing lower sales margins.  The outlook for the next three months looks relatively flat, with almost two-thirds of respondents forecasting no growth in sales margins.

• EMPLOYMENT – jobs growth continues
CBA member companies continue to forecast higher employment levels with a positive balance of +19% indicating that they will create new jobs during the next three months.

– ends –

Further information from:
Peter Newport
Chief Executive Officer, CBA
01270 258200


(1) CBA’s Trends Survey asks companies to provide information on order books, sales, sales margins, and employment on a ‘better–worse–same’ basis.  To measure short-term trends, the analysis ignores all responses answering ‘same’ and focuses on the positive or negative balance provided by the difference between the ‘better-worse’ responses.

(2)The CBA represents the independent chemical supply chain.  Its membership includes distributors, traders, warehouse operators, along with logistics and transport companies.  CBA’s members, the majority of which are SMEs, are the main industry interface with thousands of UK downstream chemical users.

(3)CBA member companies employ more than 7,800 people.  They distribute, pack, and blend more than three million tonnes of chemicals each year with a market value of almost three billion euros. CBA’s logistics member companies report that they handle more than three million tonnes of chemicals annually.

Back to News