A mid high unemployment and a credit freeze that has delayed or eliminated construction plans, a dip in cement consumption drove down prices during the first half of 2010. Cement prices have fallen in six of the last seven months, including relatively large monthly declines of 1.5% in April and 1.4% in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ producer price index.
“The declines are getting steeper,” says Armine Thompson, construction materials analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based forecasting firm IHS Global Insight. In May, cement prices were 6.8% below a year ago. Ready-mix concrete prices are following a similar pattern and, in May, were 2.7% below 2009’s level, according to BLS.