US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has forecasted a fourth-quarter cement demand decline of 1.5% year-on-year in 2020, slowing to 0.9% throughout 2021. It said that all three of its post-coronavirus economic recovery scenarios involved a decline until mid-2021, primarily due to “weak construction sectors specifically within retail, hotel and office” non-residential markets, though in the best-case scenario a vaccine could prompt a recovery in these sectors, reducing total demand decline to 0.1% in the second half of 2021. A worst-case ‘W-shaped’ scenario would result from state governments implementing second lockdowns.
Senior vice president and chief economist Ed Sullivan said, “We think that the gradual sustained recovery – the 'U' – has the largest likelihood, followed by the 'vaccine' scenario. The growth-interrupted 'W' scenario is the least likely. He said that in each case federal spending in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 would be essential “in preventing a deep and prolonged downturn in economic recovery,” as it did in the second and third quarters of 2020.