Indonesia’s cement consumption, an indicator of economic activity, rose 16.5 per cent by volume in March from a year earlier, amid an improved economy, the country’s largest cement maker said on Thursday.
State-controlled PT Semen Gresik Tbk, 25.5 per cent controlled by Cemex SA, said Southeast Asia’s largest economy used 2.65Mt of cement last month, up from 2.27Mt a year before. Domestic sales of Semen Gresik alone grew 8.7 percent to 1.13Mt. Including exports, Gresik sales rose 5.5 per cent to 1.25Mt, the firm said. Semen Gresik group has capacity to produce 16Mta. Last year, it produced 15.6Mt- nearly half total national output. Last year, Indonesia consumed 30.04Mt of cement, up from 27.54Mt in 2003.
Analysts had expected strong demand for cement from massive infrastructure projects expected to start this year.
The government plans to offer billions of dollars worth of projects to revive the country’s ailing public facilities in a bid to boost investment and economic growth, as well as rebuild areas of Sumatra island hit by a massive Dec. 26 tsunami.
The state budget has forecast the economy will grow 5.4 percent this year against 5.1 percent last year, partly due to an expected pick up in investment.