World cement consumption is expected to decline 1.7 percent in 2009, a modest drop that is cushioned by a roughly 4 percent growth in utilization by China and India.

According to a recent report by the Portland Cement Association, gains in China and India, which together account for 58 percent of the world’s cement consumption, will mask the harsh downturns predicted for many of the world’s 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 underway is unprecedented,” said Ed Sullivan, PCA chief economist. “This is concentrated, however, in developed countries. Emerging economies, with the exception of China and India, are expected to lag one year behind.”

Sullivan predicts continued worldwide growth rates of 7.7 percent and 6.9 percent in 2011 and 2012, respectively.