This study analyzes global demand for construction aggregates. The types of aggregates covered in the study include:
hard, inert granular materials that are mixed with cementing materials to form concrete, mortar, plaster, or grout
minerals mixed with bitumen to form asphaltic concrete
aggregates utilized as road bases and coverings
aggregates employed in various other construction-related applications, such as foundation fill, railroad ballast, pipe bedding, drainage and erosion control, embankments and earth dams, landscaping, roadway snow and ice control, and roofing granules
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Scope and Summary
Aggregate materials included in the scope of this study are:
sand (construction grade)
other construction materials, including clay, shale, and recycled or secondary products like crushed concrete (asphaltic and hydraulic), fly ash, glass, and slag
Aggregates materials excluded from the scope of this study are:
minerals used in the manufacture of cement (such as clinker)
aggregates used in industrial applications (such as silica sand, fracking sand, and gravel used in sand production)
industrial grades of sand used in non-construction-related applications such as glassmaking (silica sand), foundry molds, and abrasives
In addition, aggregates demand is analyzed by market:
residential construction (including new building and improvements)
nonresidential construction (including new building and improvements)
nonbuilding construction (such as roads, bridges, airports, ports, railways, and utility infrastructure)
Global demand for construction aggregates is forecast to rise 2.3% per year to 47.5 billion metric tons in 2023, supported by:
continued strong growth in global construction activity
a rebound in global cement demand, which will support sales of concrete aggregates
increased sales to nonbuilding markets in all regions, where aggregates are needed for ongoing infrastructure development
China alone accounted for 43% of sales in 2018 and therefore has a significant impact on global demand. Although new sales in China will be the largest in absolute terms, demand is forecast to grow slowly as cement demand declines. However, sales of aggregates related to transportation infrastructure – such as road base, asphalt, and rail ballast – will continue to grow strongly in China.
If China is excluded, construction aggregates demand is forecast to rise 3.3% annually through 2023 on the strength of healthy growth in infrastructure construction in a number of developing countries in the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions.
Aggregates Sales to Nonbuilding Markets Will Bolster Global Demand
The nonbuilding construction sector, which was responsible for 54% of global aggregates demand in 2018, will account for the majority of new product sales through 2023:
Developed nations will see consistent demand for aggregates needed in road maintenance and repair, while new sales will be driven by the need to expand energy infrastructure.
In developing nations, sales to nonbuilding markets will be driven by large-scale infrastructure development of all types, particularly in the transportation sector.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will be responsible for a significant portion of new global demand, but projects in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the UAE will also support strong growth in nonbuilding markets over the near term.
Decreasing Sand & Gravel Reserves Are Reshaping Aggregates Market
Demand for sand and gravel will grow at rates well below the global average, restrained by declining natural reserves, which will reduce long-term supplies and increase material prices:
Sand and gravel prices will grow much faster than those for all other aggregates, especially in developing nations. However, consumption of sand and gravel will increase slightly, as large scale illegal mining in developing countries will prop up supply over the near term.
End users are expected to continue substituting crushed stone and secondary and recycled aggregates for sand and gravel, which will boost demand for these alternative products.