Sri Lanka’s cement market has been shrinking for the first time since their entry, and growth next year is likely to be flat unless peace revives the economy, Holcim, the island’s only integrated cement maker, has said.
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"This year was a watershed year. The market shrank," said Holcim Lanka chief executive Peter Spirig.
"We’ve never seen the cement market shrinking year-on-year."
He estimates the market had shrunk by about 7-8 percent by the end of November this year, for the first time since the economic liberalization in the early 1990s.
The slowdown in demand for cement followed a slump in the construction industry which had been growing very fast in recent years.
Sri Lanka’s construction industry has visibly slowed amid high inflation and interest rates, but according to the government’s statistics office the sector grew at a blistering 9.7 percent in the second quarter of 2008 over the same period the previous year.