Recent activity data from CEMBUREAU, the European cement association, shows that production in the countries that it covers showed a slight decrease in cement production last year compared to 2009 of 0.7% to 257.4Mt. This takes into account a boost of volumes in Turkey. Without Turkey, CEMBUREAU countries performed negatively with an overall drop in production of -5.2%. Only 11 out of 28 countries experienced a positive trend, of which only four countries showed double-digit growth in production volumes. In contrast, 12 countries still registered a decline of more than -5%. If all EU27 countries are taken into consideration, the fall in production was of -5.4%, to 190.4Mt, thus adding to the downward trend of -20.0% from the previous year.
Total 2010 clinker and cement exports from the CEMBUREAU member countries rose by 5.3%, to about 50Mt, whilst imports dropped by -6.7% (to approximately 21Mt). In 2010, clinker represented 19.6% and 20.6% of total export and import flows, respectively.
The effects of the economic crisis continued to be felt in the majority of national markets. Thus, national sales volumes dropped by -3.0% and -7.2% in the CEMBUREAU and EU27 countries
Domestic demand followed accordingly. As a result of continued worsening of market conditions, cement consumption declined compared to 2009 in the majority of the CEMBUREAU countries, 18 of which experienced negative growth rates. Eleven countries registered a drop in cement consumption of more than 10% while only four countries experienced double-digit growth in consumption.
Finland saw the biggest gains in cement demand last year up 33.3 per cent to 1.8Mt. Overall, construction grew by +12.6%. Building and specialised construction activities rose by +17.1% and +14.8% respectively, whereas civil engineering fell by -9.6%.
Ireland, meanwhile, saw the largest fall in consumption in 2010, down 25.8 per cent to 1.4Mt. Overall, construction output fell sharply, by -30%. The building sector decreased by -34% as a result of a -39% and -30% fall in residential and non-residential building, respectively. Civil engineering dropped by -21%. Construction output is forecast to fall once again in 2011. This will lead to a further decline in cement consumption, although it is likely to be less than in 2010. Reductions in both government expenditure and private investment will continue to have an impact on total construction output and cement consumption in 2011.