The demand for asphalt products is forecast to advance 1.2% annually to 38.8 million tons in 2009, valued at over $12 billion. This will generate demand for 215 million barrels of primary asphalt, the vast majority of which is refinery asphalt. Gains will derive from expanding demand for asphalt paving products, which will benefit from new highway and road spending; and growth in demand for asphalt roofing products, which will benefit from recovery in nonresidential building activity. These and other trends are presented in Asphalt, a new study from the Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.
Paving products accounted for more than 85% of overall asphalt products volume demand in 2004. Gains for paving products will be driven by increased federal and state spending on highway and road construction, particularly in view of the passage of Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), federal legislation that authorizes spending through 2009. Overall, demand for asphalt paving products is forecast to increase to 1.3% annually to 33.5 million tons in 2009, which represents an improvement over the 1999 to 2004 period, when paving asphalt demand declined slightly.
Consumption of asphalt roofing products is projected to expand less than one percent annually to nearly five million tons in 2009. Gains will derive primarily from renewed growth in nonresidential building. The construction of office, commercial and industrial buildings dwindled during the 1999-2004 period, negatively affecting demand for roofing products. As nonresidential building posts resurgent growth, consumption of built-up, modified bitumen and roll roofing will benefit. Gains will be moderated, however, by slower growth in the larger residential roofing market, as a sharp decline in single family housing negatively impacts demand.
Although asphalt paving products account for the bulk of demand in volume terms, higher value asphalt roofing products account for over half of the value. Modified bitumen and build-up roofing will pace gains, while asphalt shingles (the primary product used in steep slope applications) will record below average advances. This reflects gains in nonresidential building construction (which utilizes primarily flat roofing), and slowing construction of new homes (which primarily utilizes shingles).