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Cement industry trends: North America

World Cement,

After several years of downturn in the United States’ cement industry, cement consumption grew 9% in 2012. The PCA predicts that similar rates of growth are likely this year and there could be double-digit growth in consumption in 2014. Ed Sullivan of the PCA suggests that by mid-year there will be a strengthening of confidence that will trigger underlying economic potential. That being the case, housing starts will grow stronger. When residential, non-residential and public sectors of the construction market move in a positive direction there should be robust growth rates in cement consumption. There are encouraging signs in Canada. The country’s construction sector is expected to show strong growth at 4.1% y/y. While a slow down in the housing market is expected, infrastructure and non-residential building should pick up the slack. Industrial projects in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors, combined with those in social infrastructure, will support non-residential building, while new projects to support resource extraction and transportation will boost infrastructure.

While there was a dip in the growth of the construction industry in Mexico towards the end of 2012, there is optimism that the construction sector will grow by 5.7% this year. If areas such as housing and infrastructure are given priority by the new government, the construction industry and its suppliers will benefit from a larger number of projects. At the beginning of the year, Lafarge announced that it had reached an agreement with Elementia to combine their cement assets in the country. The company is currently building a new 1 million tpa plant in central Mexico, while the output of Lafarge’s plants at Vito and Tula will combine to produce 1 million tpa. At the same time, Holcim Apasco reported that the industry had expanded by 3.5% last year, with consumption running at 35 million t.

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the July 2013 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.

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