Second, despite the impact of the current debt crisis in Europe, we still believe that the economic conditions in most of our markets have stabilized and/or bottomed out. This view is supported by the positive cement volume performance this quarter from some of our operations in European countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom. Having said this, visibility is still not where we would like it to be. Third, we expect to be in compliance with our financial covenants.Now, I would like disclose our second quarter results. Infrastructure and housing were the main drivers of demands for our products during the quarter. Lower volumes and weaker pricing conditions in some of our markets partially mitigated by our cost reduction initiatives affected our quarterly results. We are encouraged, however, by the growth in volumes in the United States. This is the first year-over-year increase in volumes in the country since the first quarter of 2006. We believe that the second half of the year will continue to show operating EBITDA growth and recovery, though potentially at a lower pace than originally expected. During the second quarter and on a like-to-like basis for the ongoing operations, consolidated domestic gray cement volumes declined by 1%, ready mix volumes declined by 5%, and aggregates volumes declined by 2% versus the same quarter last year. Adjusting for foreign exchange fluctuations, consolidated gray cement prices declined by 1% during the second quarter compared with the first quarter and were flat for ready mix and aggregates. Volumes in Mexico dropped during the quarter versus the very strong second quarter in 2009, during which infrastructure was high due to expenditure on special government programs to promote growth and employment. Even though total investment in infrastructure is expected to drop only by about 1% in real terms for this year, this investment includes non-cement intensive projects such as energy and electricity.
Investment in cement intensive projects including communications, transportations and water projects is expected to decline by about 17%. We see investment in the formal residential sector improving slightly during the year despite the working capital financing constraints faced by homebuilders.Investment in the self-construction sector will see a minor decline affected by lower remittances in Peso terms and absence of extraordinary social programs that were available last year. In the aggregate investment in the residential sector will fall by about 1% this year. The industrial and commercial sector is expected to show mid single digit growth during the year after two years of decline. This is driven mainly by the industrial sector, which is supported by pricing and manufacturing exports to the United States. In the United States, we are encouraged by the growth in volumes within the quarter for cement ready mix and on a like-to-like basis for the ongoing operations aggregates. While this result supports our expectation for the second half rebound as it cost [summoned], we have since become more cautious about the second half of this year due to a deceleration in our average daily sales growth rates in June and the recent microeconomic indicators. Micro indicators for the months of May and June included week figures for new home sales, housing starts, job creation, consumer confidence and retail sales. While most economists believe that the recent disruption in favorable microeconomic trends is temporary, we will have to see how demand in our markets evolves in coming months. We continue to focus on job creation as a critical as a typical driver for us to the recovery in the economy and the residential sector. On the other hand, several leading indicators suggest a positive outlook. Contract awards for streets and highways are up 3% on a year-over-year basis through June. Growth in contract awards has dropped off in recent months due to delay in extending the Federal Highway Program and the deceleration in contracting out our projects with almost 90% of our funds under contract through May.
States currently have a larger source of an obligated federal highway money having relied heavily on our financing to meet their immediate highway needs in 2010. As we approach the end of the fiscal year for the federal government on September 30, states must move quickly to direct this money. As of May, an obligated funds total approximately $24 billion, probably 70% of the federal highway program appropriation.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com