Preliminary figures from the US Geological Survey (USGS) for February 2010 show that domestic cement consumption remains weak, but lead indicators are promising future growth.
Portland and blended cement sales in the United States stood at 3.4Mt in February, a fall of 26.1 per cent on 2009 sales and 48.7 per cent lower than the five-year average, according to the USGS figures. February sales also saw a 1.2 per cent monthly drop against January 2010 figures, reflecting the continued contraction in the US cement market. Year-to-date shipments reached 6.84Mt.
However, lead indicators suggest a pick up in construction activity and the promise of future growth. The pace of US home construction was reported to have risen to its highest levels since November 2008. Housing starts rose by 1.6 per cent in March 2010 to a seasonally adjusted rate of 626,000 units as construction of multi-family homes picked up significantly. Similarly, building permit data (an indicator of future housing starts) rose by 7.5 per cent to its highest point since October 2008.