South African cement volumes rose by 6.3 per cent y/y in January 2004 to 607,335t after increasing by 13.9 per cent y/y in December 2003 to 671,525t, data released by the Cement & Concrete Institute (CNCI) showed. In 2003 domestic cement sales grew by 7.0 per cent to 9,105,466t after increasing by 5.9 per cent to 8,511,851t in 2002 following only 1.8 per cent growth in 2001.
The rise in cement sales seems to be related to usage in preparing the port at Coega in the Eastern Cape, where cement sales rose by 79.8 per cent y/y after increasing by 52.1 per cent y/y in December following a 76.6 per cent y/y increase in September and a 151.2 per cent y/y surge in August. Third quarter 2003 sales were up 109.7 per cent y/y in the Eastern Cape.
In January 2004, the provincial growth rates varied from 79.8 per cent y/y in the Eastern Cape to -24.9 per cent y/y in the Northern Cape. Statistics South Africa previously reported that real value added in the construction industry only rose by 2.0 per cent y/y in 2002, and in the first half of 2003 expanded by only 3.0 per cent y/y. In November 2003 this was revised substantially to a 4.3 per cent increase in 2002 and the first three quarters of 2003 are now up 5.1 per cent y/y. A substantial upwards revision is also expected to this data when Statistics South Africa rebases the national accounts to a 2000 base instead of the current 1995 base in November 2004. (Original Report: Business Day, south Africa)