US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) forecasts that cement consumption growth will drop to 2.6% in 2019 and 1.6% in 2020. This compares to 2.9% in 2018. The PCA’s Market Intelligence Group has blamed the softening on rising interest rates, local financial problems at the state level and a general end to the recovery period following the financial crash in 2008.
“We are expecting relatively modest but sustained interest rate increases after 10 years of low and stable rates,” said PCA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. “The Federal Reserve’s actions will gradually slow the construction sector’s growth due to, among other things, the higher mortgage rates for residential buildings and higher borrowing cost for non-residential buildings.” He added that tax cuts passed at the end of 2017 had boosted the overall economy but that rising debt levels was likely to frame the discussion of future federal public infrastructure spending.