The Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) recently released Survey of Portland Cement Consumption by User Group provides end-user cement tonnage for 18 individual segments. The report indicated gains in cement demand in user groups linked to residential construction such as fiber cement siding (up 127 per cent), concrete roof tile (increased 92 per cent), and building materials dealers (up 40 per cent) against volumes reported in the third quarter of last year. Overall residential cement consumption, however, is not expected to record meaningful volume gains until at least 2013.
Substantive volume gains are not expected for user groups dependent on nonresidential construction until mid-to-late 2013 although a moderate gain was reported in precast concrete (four percent) with flat third quarter performance in prestressed concrete. Cement volumes into the oil and gas drilling sector advanced nearly 30 per cent in the third quarter.
User groups with high exposure to public construction and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending are expected to reflect declines this year. Third quarter volumes in segments such as concrete pipe (down three per cent) and streets and highway contractors (down 10 percent) support this assessment. It should be noted that many segments are tracking against volume levels that are at or near historically depressed levels observed last year.