Post-election uncertainty, slower growth compel minor PCA forecast adjustment

Source: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.

U.S. cement consumption is on track to see 2.7 percent growth in 2016 versus the 4 percent increase PCA projected earlier this year. The association has also revised its 2017 U.S. cement consumption growth forecast from 4.2 percent to 3.1 percent, owing to the negative pressure of post-election political uncertainty, inflation and slower construction activity.

“President-elect Trump continues to shape his cabinet and policies, thus making it difficult to forecast potential outcomes at this point,” affirms PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. “The impact of uncertainty is expected to be compounded by increased inflationary expectations, which will impact long-term bonds and loans, such as mortgages—to the detriment of cement consumption.”

A revised PCA market forecast offers three potential political scenarios that could shape policy priorities. They factor various levels of support from Congress, plus possible shifts in the President-elect’s previously announced policy objectives impacting cement consumption. “While these could be considered high-medium-low pathways, each are predicated on one of three political scenarios,” Sullivan notes. “In reality, the laws of permutation suggest there are many more potential outcomes.”