Growth in cement shipments in the countries that Jefferies International track strengthened in May. In the larger markets, there were particularly sizeable increases in France (+24.7%), Germany (+23.5%), Poland (+35.8%), Brazil (+10.8%) and Indonesia (+19.5%).
Data on cement demand in May is currently available for 14 of the 20 countries tracked. It increased in May in 9 of the 14 countries, with the rate of growth accelerating in many markets. The higher rates of growth in May 2011 at least partly reflected an increase in the number of working days. For example in France there were three more, which the French trade association estimates boosted cement shipments by around 17%. Adjusting for this reduces the headline 24.7% increase in French cement consumption in May, to a 7.7% increase.
In May 2010, there was significant flooding in Central and Eastern Europe, whereas this year the weather was drier than normal. This helped boost cement consumption in Poland during May 2011 to 35.8% higher than in May 2010. Jefferies estimate that the underlying increase, after adjusting for both the increased number of working days and the drier weather, was probably still close to a double-digit percentage increase.
Cement consumption in May 2011 was 28.3% higher than in May 2010 in Argentina. In the larger market, Brazil, cement consumption increased by 10.8% in May, the highest rate of growth for three months, and it was comparing with a strong May 2010, when there was a 19.1% increase. The rate of growth in Indonesian cement shipments picked up from 6.8% in April to 19.5% in May, boosting the increase in the first five months of 2011 to 9.4%.