In its latest forecast, the Portland Cement Association forecasts 2013 cement consumption to reach nearly 80 million metric tons, a 4.5 percent increase over 2012. Consumption levels will reach 86 million metric tons in 2014, an 8.1 percent year-over-year gain.
During 2014, the forecast states, it is possible that all sectors of construction will show growth – residential, nonresidential and possibly even public. While the growth will be broad-based, half of it anticipated for 2014 will come from residential construction activity where there is the largest amount of pent-up demand. The commercial and institutional sector will contribute another 25 percent.
Typically, when each sector contributes to growth, robust growth rates in cement consumption materializes. PCA predicts real construction spending to grow 1.3 percent in 2013 and by eight percent in 2014.
However, growth in U.S. construction markets could be dampened by Congressional drama that erodes consumer confidence and hinders recovery, said PCA group vice president and chief economist Edward Sullivan in the forecast. “Each time the political circus on Capitol Hill addresses extensions of the debt limit, budget approvals or the fiscal cliff, it harms the burgeoning economic momentum.”
By 2018, the end of the forecast horizon, portland cement consumption is expected to reach nearly 119 million metric tons — roughly three percent below the past cyclical peak in 2005. This implies a 14-year recovery.