Gains to materialize in late 2010

Expected increases in public construction activities will pave the way for improved cement consumption in 2010 and beyond, according to the most recent economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association. In 2010, PCA anticipates a modest 5 percent increase in consumption over severely depressed 2009 levels. The gain of 3 to 5 million metric tons in cement use will materialize during the second half of the year. A 13.3 percent jump is predicted for 2011, followed by an 18.7 percent increase in 2012. “The 2010 recovery in cement consumption lays largely on expectations for public construction activity,” said PCA chief economist Edward Sullivan in a press release. “Spending from the stimulus bill will more than double to $12 billion, and that spending is expected to reflect an increased share of major highway construction and bridge projects — cement-intensive projects.” Although nonresidential sectors such as oil and farm construction would contribute to the 2010 cement consumption increase, consumption accrued to commercial building would decline 29 percent on top of a 38-year low reached in 2009. The residential sector is expected to become a modest contributor to growth during 2010 — a factor that has not materialized since 2005. “The economy is recovering and improving its core fundamentals. However, recovery for the construction markets will be slowed by the continuation of tight lending conditions, high foreclosure rates and weak job markets,” Sullivan said. ?

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