The Malaysian cement industry is forecasting a cement demand growth of about three per cent to 16.33Mt this year compared with 2007 when demand was 15.46Mt, said the Cement And Concrete Association of Malaysia Friday.
"Whilst there are signs of an economic slowdown and a corresponding slowdown in construction activities, we are quite optimistic that the government would be launching initiatives that would bring impetus for greater economic growth," said its chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Razak Ramli at the Cement and Concrete Association’s Appreciation Dinner here.
With clinker capacity of 18.1 million tonnes and grinding capacity of 28.3Mt, the industry will be in a strong position to meet the demand for this year, he said.
"We will ensure that the needs of the country and of the construction industry for cement and concrete especially for projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the regional corridors announced by the government would be met in a most timely manner."
At the same time, Abdul Razak said the excess clinker and grinding capacity will enable the industry to produce surplus clinker and cement for economies of scale and for export.
"Only by exporting such surplus that cement manufacturers can expect better returns on investment and contribute to the nations export earnings," he added.
Elsewhere, the chairman said the association has often been misrepresented when there are allegations of shortage of supply or even collusion in engineering price hikes.
"We will ensure that there will always be adequate supply of cement domestically and will work closely with the authorities in ensuring timely movement and supply of the commodity should tight supply situations occur," he said.