US: Ed Sullivan, the Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Senior Vice President and Chief Economist says that economic momentum supported by tax reform and federal infrastructure programs will play key roles in the demand for construction in the next few years. Sullivan made his comments at the World of Concrete event in Las Vegas, where he revealed details from his forthcoming spring forecast.
“There is little doubt that the near-term outlook for construction and cement consumption in 2018 and 2019 remains favourable,” said Sullivan. “Strengthening economic conditions, with the addition of fiscal stimulus, and in the context of already low unemployment could awaken inflationary pressures. Down the road, this could lead to an even more stringent monetary policy, leading to an acceleration in interest rate increases and an eventual cooling of construction markets. If this scenario plays out, it will likely take time to gestate and not materialise to a significant degree until after 2019.”
Sullivan noted the strong economy comes in context of continued strain to find skilled workers, including those needed for construction projects. Weather conditions and other economic factors prompted PCA to revise its 2017 Fall Forecast down slightly, though it says that its ‘fundamental’ assessments pertaining to the economy, construction markets, and cement consumption remain on target.
The PCA Spring Forecast will be released in early March 2018.