Empresas Melon, a subsidiary of Lafarge, forecasts a 1.8 per cent to 2.0 per cent growth for Chile’s cement industry in 2004. Melon’s forecast is however less optimistic than the 4.0 per cent growth projected by the Chilean Chamber of construction. According to Melon, the recovery of the national cement market will be
counteracted by the lack of big infrastructure projects. Melon’s marketing director, expects a 50 pct year-on-year fall in the number of big infrastructure projects in Chile in 2004. Cement consumption in Chile fell by 4.5 per cent year-on-year in the period January to February 2004. Melon expects the Chilean industry to consume 3.7Mt of cement in 2004 of which Melon will supply 1.4Mt up 8.0 per cent year-on-year.
However, cement deliveries in Chile dropped 4.3 per cent between January and February to 14.7 million bags (42.5kg each), compared to the same period last year, according to information from the country’s construction chamber cited by Diario Financiero. While the economy remains strong, cement demand tapered off with the winding up of some major infrastructure projects such as the Ralco hydroelectric dam in the south of the country. Last year, local cement deliveries in Chile grew 4.6 per cent to 3.62Mt compared to 2002.