US: Growth in home construction and favourable weather conditions have helped to boost the consumption of cement in the first half 2012, according to a report released on 3 August 2012 by the Portland Cement Association (PCA).
In its report the PCA forecasts that cement consumption will be 6.9% higher by the end of 2012 compared with the end of 2011. The association, however, warned that there is some uncertainty about the state of the industry going beyond 2012. In a news release, it put much of the blame for the uncertainty on the US Congress.
Economists worry that the inability of Congress to find common ground on tax cuts expiring and the automatic spending cuts set to kick in at the end of 2012 could force the nation over a 'fiscal cliff', driving the economy back into recession.
"If Congress fails to address the fiscal cliff issue during the first or second quarter of 2013 there is the potential for severe adverse economic consequences that could slow the recovery process, potentially leading to a severe decline in 2013 cement consumption," said Ed Sullivan, the PCA's chief economist.