Displaying items by tag: Portland Cement Association
US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) expects 2013 cement consumption to reach nearly 80Mt, a 4.5% increase on 2012. Consumption levels are projected to reach 86Mt in 2014, an 8.1% year-on-year growth.
During 2014 it is possible that all construction sectors will record growth, according to the PCA. While the growth will be broad-based, half of it will come from residential construction activity where there is the largest amount of pent-up demand from the recession. The commercial and institutional sector will contribute another 25%. Typically, when each sector contributes to growth, robust growth rates in cement consumption materialises. Growth in US construction markets could, however, be dampened by congressional drama that erodes consumer confidence and hinders recovery, according to the latest forecast.
"American consumers love drama. Moreover, congress knows how to create it, with more on the way when the debt ceiling talks resume in early in 2014," said Edward Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist. "Each time the political circus on Capitol Hill addresses extensions of the debt limit, budget approvals or the fiscal cliff, it harms the burgeoning economic momentum." Consumer and business confidence is a key ingredient for stronger economic gains, said Sullivan. Congress could easily derail recovery momentum with political drama created by the federal shutdown and debt ceilings.
The PCA predicts real construction spending to grow by 1.3% in 2013 and by 8% in 2014. By 2018 cement consumption is expected to reach nearly 119Mt, 3% below the past cyclical peak in 2005. This implies a 14 year recovery.
If you try visiting the website of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) this week you are going to be disappointed.
As part of the on-going US federal government shutdown the site has been marked as 'unavailable'. Anyone in search of US cement data and a raft of other national and international statistics will have to wait. Ditto the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although its website is still live, its last tweet on 1 October 2013 was, 'The federal government is currently shut down.'
Some cement producers in the US may be relieved that the EPA is on a hiatus. However if you cast your mind back to the Portland Cement Associations' (PCA) optimistic growth forecast in September 2013 you may remember the following from PCA chief economist Ed Sullivan. "Assuming Congress has learned its lesson from the fiscal cliff and will take a more rational approach with the upcoming debt limit discussions, political uncertainty and its adverse impact on the economy is expected to dissipate."
The construction industry will be watching carefully to see how planned future infrastructure spending emerges from the debacle. If it gets cut in the horse-trading then US cement consumption growth will take a blow. Meanwhile, if the residential construction market takes a knock due to all the uncertainty and general reduction of money in the economy from federal employees not working then cement consumption gets hit immediately. Hence Sullivan's get-out comments about Congress.
Perhaps what will really concentrate minds on the fragile state of the US construction economy is if a Chinese company buys into the cement industry, as is happening elsewhere around the world. As reported this week, the state-owned Chinese aerospace and defence company AVIC International made an offer to shareholders to take over German cement plant builder KHD Humboldt Wedag.
The US federal government needs to get back to work.
US cement consumption may have disappointed some in the first quarter of 2013 but solid growth lies ahead, according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA). Just how solid that growth will be remains open to interpretation.
PCA chief economist Ed Sullivan forecast 8% growth in cement consumption at the start of 2013. Now's its been halved to just 4%. Yet he's standing by the hint of good news ahead, upping the growth from 2014 to 9.7%.
Figures from the major US cement producers present a mixed picture. The major multinational cement producers mostly suffered from the weather in early 2013. Lafarge saw its cement sales in North America drop by 23% year-on-year for the first half of 2013 to 4.4Mt from 5.7Mt in the same period of 2012. Cemex's cement sales in the US rose by 3% but no specific figures were released. Holcim's cement sales in North America fell by 7% to 5Mt from 5.4Mt. HeidelbergCement's cement sales in the North America grew by 5% to 5.7Mt from 5.4Mt.
Of the rest, Texas Industries reported a rise in cement shipments of 29% to 2.23Mt from 1.73Mt for the six months to the 31 May 2013. Titan saw sales in the US rise by 10% to US$258m.
Preliminary United States Geological Survey data for June 2013 suggests that the increase in portland and blended cement shipments in the US slowed in the first half of 2013. In 2011 32.1Mt were shipped, in 2012 37.0Mt were shipped and in 2013 37.2Mt were shipped.
Meanwhile the construction figures US Department of Commerce mostly suggested growth but not without the odd jitter. Construction spending fell slightly in June 2013. Total construction spending adjusted seasonally fell by 0.4% to US$869bn due to a fall in non-residential construction. Since then though the July 2013 figure hit US$901bn, the highest since June 2009.
Accordingly, in his forecast Sullivan pins his hopes on the residential sector in the near term. It has seen consistent growth since October 2012. However other industry commentators, like the American Institue of Architects, have focused on poor growth in non-residential construction.
Let's hope Sullivan's got it right.
US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has forecast that cement consumption will increase by 4% in 2013, followed by 9.7% in 2014 and 2015.
"Nearly two-thirds of the anticipated growth in 2013 cement consumption will be caused by gains in the residential construction market," said PCA chief economist Ed Sullivan. "Home inventories are declining, signalling that it is time to start building, while the lingering effects of damaged credit due to foreclosure activity have created a robust apartment demand."
According to the PCA's forecast, consumer and business attitudes are expected to increasingly focus on the recovering economy rather than political uncertainty. However Sullivan hoped that the US House of Congress would avoid the political brinksmanship shown during the fiscal cliff crisis of early 2013 during future debt limit discussions.
Sullivan predicts that an increase in local spending on public construction starting in the 2016 financial year will drive a recovery in cement consumption in the US. Due to the high level of cement usage in road construction a rise of 11% in cement is forecast for 2016.
Forget Europe! The US cement industry is back in the game and could be looking forward to growth of 8.1% in cement consumption, according to a new forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA). This compares to a growth of 6% in consumption the PCA predicted in the autumn of 2012 in the shadow of the US 'fiscal cliff'.
The new forecast is based upon PCA research that estimates that total residential housing starts will reach 954,000 units in 2013. To give an idea of how badly the 2007 financial crisis hit the US residential housing market, according to US Census Bureau data in 2005 a total of 2,068,300 total housing start units were recorded. In 2007 this fell to 1,355,000 units. By 2009 this levelled out at 554,000, the lowest figure since at least 1960. A loose comparison with Spanish cement consumption in 2012 is worth noting here, when it too hit levels not seen since the 1960s.
The PCA's report predicts US cement consumption of 78.5Mt in 2013. As we pointed out in our overview of the US Cement Industry in the May 2012 issue of Global Cement Magazine, in 2006 the cement consumption of the United States was 122Mt. When the financial crisis hit, consumption nearly halved to 67Mt in 2009. The prediction for 2013 is a great improvement but the levels of 2005 are still a long way off. Currently, the Global Cement Directory 2013 places US cement production capacity at 114Mt/yr.
Other encouraging signs for the US cement industry include the sale of two Lafarge plants to Eagle Materials in September 2012 and less industry anxiety over US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions legislation. Lafarge choosing to sell plants in Missouri and Oklahoma with the US market starting to recover suggests that the French producer may have had its doubts. Yet Eagle Materials certainly thought the plants were worth the price tag of US$446m.
In summary the signs are broadly positive for the US cement industry at the start of 2013 although the dizzy heights of consumption of the early 2000s seem a long way off. US cement producers may take comfort from recent news stories from Beijing about efforts to contain air pollution from a cement plant. Hopefully for them it will be a case of 'been there, done that'.
US: Improving underlying economic fundamentals, the existence of large pent-up demand balances and the diminishment of economic 'fiscal cliff' uncertainty will combine to result in strong growth rates in 2013 and an increase in cement consumption, according to a new forecast by the Portland Cement Association (PCA).
According to the latest forecast there will be 8.1% growth in cement consumption in 2013 compared to 2012, significantly higher than the tepid growth projected in the PCA's autumn 2012 report. The upward revisions reflect adjustments made in light of the recent fiscal cliff accord, recognition of stronger economic momentum and markedly more optimistic assessments regarding residential construction activity. The January 2013 report marked 2012 consumption at 78.5Mt, an 8.9% increase compared to cement consumption in 2011.
"Growth in 2013 cement consumption will be largely driven by gains in residential construction," said PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. "Housing starts should reach nearly 950,000 units, with single family construction near 700,000 starts during 2013. We see starts hitting the one million mark in 2014 or 2015."
Sullivan did caution, however, that the first quarter of 2013 would actually show declines compared to the same period in 2012. "It is important to point out that this potential decline in first quarter growth rates does not signal a weakening in market fundamentals, but rather a hangover from favourable 2012 weather conditions," said Sullivan. "Stronger gains in cement consumption growth are expected during the second quarter."
The accelerated consumption predicted during the second half of 2013 should carry into the following year, when the PCA projects a cement consumption increase of 8.3%. The PCA also upwardly revised its long-range projections for 2015-2017. Annual growth during that period is expected to be as high as 9.2%/yr.
US: Gregory M Scott has become the president and chief executive of the Portland Cement Association (PCA), effective from 2 January 2013. Scott joined the PCA in January 2012 as the senior president of government affairs and was promoted to president in September 2012.
Scott holds a background in trade association leadership with legislative campaigns on federal transportation, environmental and energy issues. Most recently he served as executive vice president and general counsel for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the NPRA, Scott served as vice president of National Strategies, Inc, a trade association representing CEOs of Fortune 100 firms on corporate finance and tax issues.
He began his career serving on the staff of Senator Timothy E Wirth. From 1991-2008 Scott was a partner/member of Kelley Drye Collier Shannon, where he gained extensive expertise in petroleum refining and motor fuel marketing as well as legislative and regulatory issues.
Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College in Colorado Springs and a law doctorate from the American University's Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.
US: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sent final revisions to its Portland cement sector air toxics and criteria pollutant emissions rulemaking for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pre-publication review, according to industry sources. This could indicate that the agency might meet a looming 20 December 2012 consent decree deadline for issuing the proposal.
Industry sources say that the rule, which will revise EPA's 2010 maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for air toxics emissions and a related new source performance standard to cut criteria pollutants, was received at OMB either on 4 or 5 December 2012, although an EPA spokeswoman declined to say whether the rule has been sent for OMB review. She only said that the agency was, "Working on the rule and (plans) to finalise by 20 December 2012."
The 20 December 2012 deadline stems from a settlement with the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and others in the industry to propose a revision to the rules, a response in part to industry petitions for reconsideration. Cement manufacturers claimed that the 2010 rules' particulate matter (PM) limits were not achievable, among other concerns.
In addition to addressing the reconsideration petitions and other aspects of the settlement, the rule will also respond to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's December 2011 ruling in PCA v EPA remanding the rule to the agency. The court found that EPA had failed to reconsider how a related incinerator air rule may potentially alter the cement rule's emission limits and that the agency failed to give 'sufficient notice' of its final standards for open clinker storage piles.
In the 22 June 2012 proposed revisions to the rule, the EPA proposed to weaken the particulate matter (PM) limit for existing kilns from 18.14g/t (0.04lb/t) of clinker to 31.75g/t (0.07lb/t) of clinker and the limit for new kilns from 4.5g/t (0.01lb/t) of clinker to 9.0g/t (0.02lb/t) of clinker. The EPA also proposed to extend the MACT's compliance deadline to 9 September 2015, saying, "We believe that this date would require compliance 'as expeditiously as practicable'" as required by the Clean Air Act.
Several environmental groups have argued that the revisions are unlawful, both exceeding the changes required by the DC Circuit's narrow ruling and watering down the cement standards for 'unknown reasons.' In comments made on 17 August 2012 regarding the proposed reconsideration the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and other environmental groups said that the compliance delay is arbitrary and capricious given that EPA failed to adequately justify it. They added that the delay, "Will greatly exacerbate the harm that EPA already has caused and the suffering that ordinary Americans have had to endure," given that the EPA was supposed to update the cement MACT in 1997.
Update: The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website shows that the OMB received the revised EPA MACT standards on 6 December 2012.
US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has announced that its board of directors has elected Cary O Cohrs, current president of American Cement Company, to be its new chairman during the association's autumn board meeting in Washington, DC. Cohrs succeeds Aris Papadopoulos of Titan America. John Stull, president and CEO of Lafarge North America Inc, was elected vice chairman.
"It is not only a pleasure but a great honour to serve as chairman of the board," Cohrs said. "We may be just beginning to emerge from the recession, but the prospects for cement and concrete are incredibly positive. With our shift in leadership from Skokie to Washington comes a greater focus on advocacy and government affairs. But we also must maintain our focus on national and local promotion initiatives and continue to drive gains in both market share and market size."
Cohrs has decades of experience in the cement industry. In 2000 he was appointed vice president of operations for Florida Rock Industries, where Cohrs also served as plant manager and construction manager. He also was a corporate project manager for Essroc Materials Inc, responsible for the installation and commissioning of capital projects in six cement plants and two grinding plants.
US: A forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) expects a 7.5% rise in cement consumption in 2012. However, the association says that these gains could be immediately erased in 2013 if the so-called US 'fiscal cliff' is not resolved. The fiscal cliff refers to tax increases of US$400bn and federal spending cuts of US$200m currently scheduled to come into effect on 1 January 2013.
If the US House of Congress resolves the fiscal cliff during its session in 2012, the PCA expects the economy to continue to grow and cement consumption in 2013 to increase by 6%. Adversely, even if Congress addresses the policies by the first quarter of 2013, this delay will cause significant economic harm and cause a 2.7% drop in cement consumption.
"Because we believe the odds for either outcome are even, we have adopted a forecasting approach that minimises up and downside risk," said Ed Sullivan, the chief economist at the PCA. "Our baseline scenario blends the two possible outcomes and projects a 1.8% increase in cement consumption in 2013."
Sullivan also reported that the longer the US Congress delays in addressing the fiscal cliff, the greater the adverse effect on economic growth and construction activity in particular. "If no action is taken by mid-2013, the country could be headed into a severe recession," said Sullivan.
According to the PCA report, cement consumption from 1 January 2012 to 30 September 2012 had increased by 10% compared to 2011, with 16 consecutive months of growth. Sullivan attributed this growth to the return of consumer confidence, a strong housing market and, most importantly, growth in employment.