Cement shortages to worsen

08 May 2008

US: The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports that 28 States were experiencing cement shortages in July. It expects shortages over the peak US construction period to be worse than the previous high point in November last year, when 35 states reported shortages.

The AGC is calling on the Southern Tier Cement Committee (STCC) group of cement manufacturers to withdraw its anti—dumping complaint against Mexico, and allow supplies to arrive over the border free of prohibitively high duties.

“Construction activity is outpacing even last year's record pace but US cement suppliers cannot keep up with demand,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “If the STCC companies agreed to suspend the anti—dumping duty, Mexican cement could reach Gulf Coast and border states in days, keeping construction projects on track, avoiding unnecessary delays and possible layoffs.”

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) forecasts that US cement consumption this year will be up +5% on 2004. It forecast that consumption will rise a further +3.3% next year.

According to the PCS, the first rise in non—residential construction in three years, coupled with little slow down in the residential sector, are the main factors driving demand. The recently signed US Transportation Equity Act is expected to have a further impact on demand through to 2009.

The AGC's request is supported by four Governers of Western states – Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Jon Huntsman of Utah, Kenny Guinn of Nevada and Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

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