PCA bullish on US cement consumption

By Chris Sleight15 May 2014

PCA chief economist and group vice president Edward Sullivan.

PCA chief economist and group vice president Edward Sullivan.

The PCA – formerly the Portland Cement Association – forecasts US cement consumption will increase +7.9% this year. This is almost double last year’s +4.5% growth rate, and the association expects similar steady increases in demand for the next five years.

PCA chief economist and group vice president Edward Sullivan said, “There is considerable evidence that the economy’s growth path has softened during the past several months, but we believe that the underlying economic fundamentals are stronger than the data suggest.”

The PCA said US real GDP growth weakened considerably to +2.6% in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to +4.1% in Q3. It added that preliminary first quarter estimates were for just +0.1% growth and noted other headwinds like declining mortgage applications and slower construction activity.

However, Mr Sullivan said this was a seasonal effect. “The weather conditions had an obvious impact on cement consumption – limiting construction and concrete use. The northern states and much of the east coast were hit hard, with year-over-year losses of as much as -25%. However, despite this drag, nation-wide cement recorded gains. Through the first quarter, cement consumption increased +4.5% compared to the same period in 2013,” he said.

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