Strong demand for cement again this construction season is resulting in tight supplies in some areas of the country, according to a report released by the Portland Cement Association.
"Because mortgage rates have remained near historic lows, home building continues to be very strong," says PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. "In addition, nonresidential and public construction is also expected to increase as the economy improves."
According to PCA’s May 2005 survey of cement suppliers, 23 states report tight supplies of cement. Among these, ten states report tight supplies in only portions of the state – typically focused around large metropolitan areas.
Cement consumption in the United States grew to 119.9Mt in 2004, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2003 and a record year for cement consumption. Through the first quarter of 2005, U.S. cement consumption has increased 7.0 per cent over very strong 2004 levels.
To meet demand, additional cement is also being imported. Imports’ share of total U.S. consumption rose from 20.6 per cent in 2003 to 22.7 per cent in 2004. PCA expects that imports’ share will exceed 25 per cent during 2005 through 2007.
Cement suppliers successfully increased import tonnage by 17 per cent to 27.5Mt during 2004 and is on a pace to import 32Mt this year.