Global powder shipments are expected to decline 1.7 percent in 2009, a modest drop cushioned by a roughly 4.0 percent growth in utilization by China and India. According to a recent Portland Cement Association report, gains in those two nations, which together account for 58 percent of the world's cement consumption, will mask the harsh downturns predicted for many of the global cement markets. Among developing economies, consumption is anticipated to decline nearly 16 percent during 2009.
Although world governments are engaged in massive stimulus programs, early projects most likely will be low in cement intensities. Jobs such as bridge work, which has higher cement intensities but longer design times, will materialize full force in 2010, when worldwide cement consumption will yield a 3.7 percent gain. The magnitude of the global economic stimulus programs currently under way is unprecedented, says PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. This is concentrated, however, in developed countries. Emerging economies, with the exception of China and India, are expected to lag one year behind.
Sullivan expects global consumption figures to reach 2.65 billion metric tons in 2009, down from 2.7 billion in 2008. To gauge how drastic and rapid the world economic decline is, in Sullivan's October 2007 global forecast, he had anticipated cement consumption in the neighborhood of 2.82 billion metric tons by 2008. In his current report, Sullivan predicts continued worldwide growth rates of 7.7 percent (to 2.96 billion metric tons) and 6.9 percent (3.17 billion metric tons) in 2011 and 2012, respectively.