The UK market for industrial fasteners declined by 3% to a value of £403.4m in 1996, though demand is estimated to have grown marginally in 1997 driven mainly by growth in the automotive and aerospace sectors.
The UK automotive sector accounted for 42% of the industrial fasteners market in 1997, and the sector itself grew by 10% in 1996 and a further 5% in 1997.
Between 1998 and 2001, the overall fasteners market is forecast to grow by 12% in real terms, before declining 1% the following year.
Demand for fasteners has varied significantly by type of product between 1993 and 1997. The market for stainless steel bolts has grown substantially, while demand for washers and mild steel bolts is believed to have fallen in this five-year period.
UK production of industrial fasteners is estimated to have grown by 7% to £291m between 1993 and 1996, with a further rise of 6% in 1997.
Of this, some two thirds was exported in 1997. Imports in the UK as a whole amounted to 72%.
The high value of sterling made imports which are already highly price competitive even cheaper, tending to reduce the overall average prices of industrial fasteners.