In 2013, the Nordic region registered gains of varying levels in its cement demand with all countries, except Finland and Sweden, enjoying an upturn. With GDP growth rates generally set to improve this year, cement producers can perhaps expect a wider recovery of cement consumption throughout the area although market expansion appears somewhat elusive.
Sweden, Norway and Finland, in that order, are the biggest Nordic cement markets, with Denmark a fairly distant fourth. The three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Estonia are modest in terms of both population and per capita consumption. Norway, helped by its oil and gas development activity and the wealth coming from it, has, by far, the highest per capita consumption rate at an estimated 384kg last year. The abundance of wood in the region has helped to produce a cement consumption level that is low compared with the rest of Europe. With the notable exception of Finland, all countries are important exporters of cementitious products.
The combined population of these seven adds up to 32m. Sweden has the largest population with 9.6m inhabitants, followed by Denmark with 5.61m, Finland with 5.44m and Norway with 5.08m. Lithuania has the greatest population of the Baltic countries with 2.97m, followed by Latvia with 2.01m and Estonia with 1.28m.