At the recently held World of Concrete meeting, Ed Sullivan chief economist at the Portland Cement Association (PCA) gave an outlook on the US cement industry 2010-14. He pointed out that from the consumption height of 2007 the US has seen growth rates fall by 9.6 per cent or a fall in cement consumption of 54Mt. New capacity expansion has been delayed because of the recession, while cement imports will fall to 5.7Mt this year from a high of 22.7Mt in 2007. Meanwhile, factory utilisation rates have seen a huge decline from 91.6 per cent in 2007 to 64.4 per cent in 2010.
Mr Sullivan commented that economic adversity should abate by mid-2010, but that there would be continued weak consumption levels during the 1H10. The PCA’s 5.2 per cent growth in 2010 translates to 4Mt although this should be seen in context against the starting point of a 54Mt decline. Cement projects will begin to materialise in the 2H10 with public consumption leading the way, followed by residential and finally non-residential.
Between 2007-09 the US cement consumption fell 11Mt, but the PCA’s outlook suggests only modest further erosion for 2010.