In its latest forecast, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) predicts 2013 cement consumption will reach nearly 80 million metric tons, a 4.5 percent increase over 2012. Consumption levels will hit 86 million metric tons in 2014, an 8.1 percent year-over-year gain.
During 2014, 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.
The PCA predicts real construction spending will grow 1.3 percent in 2013 and by 8 percent in 2014. However, growth in U.S. construction markets could be dampened by congressional drama that erodes consumer confidence and hinders recovery, said Edward Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist, 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 3 percent below the past cyclical peak in 2005. This implies a 14-year recovery.