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World Demand for Aggregates to Grow 5.2 Percent

The worldwide market for construction aggregates is projected to advance to 51.7 billion metric tons in 2019, representing an annual growth rate of 5.2 percent. Residential building applications for aggregates will be driven by upturns in the housing markets of developed countries and by rising personal incomes in developing countries, which will spur demand for more modern housing.

Rising personal incomes will also create requirements for additional commercial, industrial and retail space. Infrastructure investment across the globe will bolster nonbuilding construction related aggregates sales, as well.

These and other trends are presented in World Construction Aggregates, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Demand for crushed stone and alternative aggregates – such as recycled concrete, fly ash, and slag – will expand at twice the pace of sand and gravel in the near term. Sand and gravel reserves are shrinking across much of the world, and illegal sand mining plagues a number of developing markets that have rapidly growing sand consumption requirements.

“As efforts to curb illegal mining activities have been largely unsuccessful, sand and gravel reserves in many countries are expected to be depleted at a rapid pace through 2019,” noteed analyst Zoe Biller. "This will result in price hikes, especially in urban centers where demand for aggregates is sizable, and will lead construction firms to turn to more favorably priced items."

An improvement in the U.S. construction industry will boost aggregates sales for North America, while a return to growth after a long period of decline will benefit suppliers to the market in Western Europe. A healthier construction climate will also stimulate growth in Eastern Europe through 2019.

Gains will be fastest in the Asia/Pacific region, with India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia recording the most rapid increases. Although growth in the Chinese market will slow going forward, China will remain by far the largest national consumer of aggregates in 2019, representing nearly half of all global sales.

The Africa/Mideast region will also record rapid growth, with all major national markets recording gains above the world average. In Central and South America, a number of government-backed affordable housing programs will help resuscitate the region’s residential construction industry and support aggregates market gains.