According to a recent report by Portland Cement Association Market Intelligence, the typical economic growth supporters of employment and energy sector investment have not translated into Canadian cement demand this year, and a 0.8% decline in consumption is forecast for 2011, followed by a moderate rebound of a 1.2% in 2012.
Residential construction, stimulus-funded infrastructure spending, and private-sector energy investment contributed to cement volumes just under 9 million metric tons last year. However, in 2011, two of these three contributors—residential and infrastructure—have not played a repeat role. Private-sector investment does not appear to be able to carry the remaining load. In addition, federal and provincial budget balancing will drag on public sector cement demand next year.
Cement demand this year will be weakest in the Atlantic provinces, where a 6.5% decline is anticipated, followed by the Prairies with a 1.2% decline. Ontario is the only region expected to have a gain—a modest 0.4%. Follow-up demand in 2012 is likely to return to positive growth for the western provinces with flat markets continuing in the east.