Figures released by the central bank of Lebanon show that cement deliveries, a coincident indicator of construction activity, increased by 7.7 per cent over the first half of 2008 as compared to the same half of 2007, on account of increased construction activity to meet the rise in real-estate demand prevailing during the covered period.
Bank Audi Weekly Monitor, which carried the report, said that cement deliveries totaled 2Mt in the half-year period extending between January and June 2008, up from 1.8Mt in the same period of 2007.
"When comparing the first half of 2008 to the previous six months, the latter period saw a more vibrant construction activity, as cement deliveries were 6.8 percent higher, probably because the mentioned period marked the beginning of the real-estate boom," Audi said.
It added that on a quarterly basis during 2008, construction activity witnessed a slight slowdown during the first quarter of 2008, as cement deliveries declined by 11.7 per cent relative to the previous quarter to reach 863,837t.
However, the sector regained its momentum in the second quarter of 2008, with cement deliveries totaling 1.1Mt in the three-month period, up by 28.8 per cent relative to the previous quarter and by 38.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
Cement deliveries totaled 368,706t in June 2008, noting that the said month came second to May 2008, which saw the highest amount of cement deliveries in 2008 so far of 383,067t. It is worth mentioning that the lion’s share of the latter amount was delivered during the second half of May 2008.
"Clearly, the signing of the Doha accord had positive spillovers on construction activity, mirrored by a surge in cement deliveries in May and June 2008, relative to previous months of 2008," Audi said. - The Daily Star