PCA’s Sullivan doubles down on positive cement consumption outlook

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Measuring year-to-date cement shipments through July, the most recent month for which data is available, PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan reiterates in his most recent economic forecast that the industry is on track to reach a previously projected 7.9 percent increase in 2014 powder consumption against 2013 figures.

The forecast indicates considerable evidence that the economy’s growth path has strengthened from gains in the labor market, lower consumer debt, and increased consumer wealth. PCA expects real gross domestic product growth to average in excess of 3 percent annually during the remainder of the forecast horizon. With marked economic progress, residential and nonresidential building markets should strengthen and state fiscal conditions improve, while public construction will eventually become a cement demand driver.

“It appears that the fundamentals are in place to support sustained gains in cement sales activity,” notes Sullivan. “For example, although total home sales are expected to remain flat in 2014, we see a 13 percent acceleration next year.” Improvements in residential and other building and construction markets will be reflected in continuing increases in 2015–16 cement consumption levels.