North American portland cement consumption increased 11.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012 against the same quarter in 2011. Both the U.S. and Canada recorded double-digit gains of 11.8 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, according to Portland Cement Association’s Survey of Portland Cement by User Group report.
Second-quarter expansion can be attributed to both strengthening in residential and nonresidential construction activity, both of which appear to be sustainable, as well as rather robust gains in cement intensities. Cement consumption in North America is already up 14.9 percent through the first half of 2012, although some of these gains were facilitated by favorable weather conditions in the first quarter. PCA still expects the second half of the year will be characterized by an adverse weather payback, although positive underlying market fundamentals will alleviate this somewhat.
Non-traditional paving (SC/RCC/FDR), a market that is among the forefront of PCA’s promotional efforts, recorded an impressive 47 percent gain against year-ago levels. Its year-to-date volume is up 35 percent, to 661,163 tons for the first half of the year. Other market leaders include packaged product producers (27 percent increase against 2011), prestressed (21 percent), and precast (13 percent). PCA expects segments highly concentrated in residential and certain sub-markets within the nonresidential sector to ride on gains made in private construction, in some instances double-digit increases.
The PCA survey provides end-user cement tonnage for eighteen individual segments. Historical data tables and graphs detail segment performance. In addition, current-year segment forecasts and summary analysis, linked to PCA’s latest national forecasts, are provided.