China’s cement exports in 2008 decreased by 12.91 percent year-on-year to 13.23 million tons due to the slack real estate market worldwide, according to statistics revealed at the 2009 China International Cement Conference, reports China Daily.
Exports of clinker also decreased by 28.11 percent to 12.8 million tons. "Appreciation of the renminbi was also a reason for the decrease," said Lei Qianzhi, chairman of China Cement Association.
In 2008, cement output in China increased by 3 percent to 1.39 billion tons. During the first 11 months of last year, the industry realized a gross profit of 26.14 billion yuan ($3.83 billion), a 30.8 percent increase over the previous year. The annual profit is estimated to exceed 28 billion yuan in 2008, according to Ou Xinqian, vice-minister of Industry and Information Technology.
However, annual output of the 4,566 cement enterprises, or 90.8 percent of the total cement producers in China, was less than 600,000 tons each. "We advocate mergers and acquisitions among Chinese cement enterprises to optimize the industrial pattern," said Ou.
Industry insiders are optimistic about China’s cement industry in 2009. "Based on my experience, as long as growth of China’s GDP is above 7 percent, demand for cement will grow positively," said Lei. The GDP growth set by the central government is 8 percent for the year.
China announced a 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package last year and infrastructure construction is a major investment target, which is expected to spur demand for cement.
Transportation construction, including the airport, railways and expressways, will create a cement demand totaling 300 million tons this year, said analysts Hong Liang and Hao Feifei with China Galaxy Securities. Furthermore, post-earthquake construction in Sichuan province from 2009 to 2010 will also need 100 million tons of cement.