The USGS has released its report on gypsum in the fourth quarter of 2014, showing an increase in consumption of 24 percent y/y, which is attributed in part to an increased number of housing starts in 2014.
In 4Q14, some 4.62 million t of gypsum was mine, up 11 percent q/q and 49 percent higher than in 4Q13. Synthetic gypsum used was 2.45 million t in 4Q14, up 10 percent y/y. Of the 8.14 million t of gypsum supplied in 4Q14, 30 percent was synthetic. Both mined and synthetic gypsum are used as raw material for wallboard, the leading domestic consumer of gypsum.
Sales of uncalcined gypsum, used in Portland cement manufacture and for agricultural uses, were slightly up q/q but 12 percent down y/y at 418 000 t. Calcined gypsum sales were up 3 percent q/q and slightly up y/y at 4.05 million t. Sales of board products were 4.99 million t, equivalent to approximately 556 million square meters (5.98 billion square feet), a 5 percent increase q.q but a 3 percent decrease y/y.
Imports of crude gypsum rose 10 percent q/q and 16 percent y/y tp 1.06 million t, with the majority coming from Mexico (47 percent). Gypsum wallboard imports, also mostly from Mexico, were 13 percent up q/q and 12 percent up y/y at 102 000 t or 11.3 million square meters (122 million square feet). Meanwhile, wallboard exports were 215 000 t, equivalent to 23.8 million square meters (257 million square feet), up 6 percent q/q and y/y.