Domestic cement sales fell to 49.16Mt last fiscal year, dropping 10% on the year to the lowest level since 1968, the Japan Cement Association said Wednesday.
Housing starts tumbled amid the recession and higher materials costs. And the stricter construction standards implemented in 2007 continued to delay housing starts in fiscal 2008. Public works slowed as well.
Sales sagged nationwide, except for in Okinawa, where they inched up 1% thanks to robust construction of condominiums and other buildings.
Last month, cement sales decreased 11% to 3.9 Mt, marking a 22nd consecutive month of year-on-year declines. The weak demand caused inventories to edge up 1% to 4.41Mt.