Standard & Poor’s (S&P) expects higher cement sales volumes in the second quarter this year over Q1, supported by increased activity in the housing and infrastructure sectors, S&P said in part of its industry report card for Latin America.
In Argentina, S&P expects continued sector recovery through this year, although at a lessened pace than in 2004, due to continued public works and private development of the residential construction sector.
At the same time, cement demand in Brazil continues to be low, but sales increased 1% in 2004 over the year before, and reasonable prices allow for adequate profitability in a depressed market. And Mexico’s cement volumes are expected to improve in 2Q05 as public housing construction picks up after a decelerated first quarter.
The expectations come within a changed regional cement environment with significant acquisitions in the first quarter: Cemex bought RMC, Brazil’s Votorantim acquired some of Cemex’s US assets, and Brazilian company Camargo Corrêa agreed to buy Argentina’s Loma Negra. The total transaction value for the acquisitions comes to some US$7.2bn.