Cemtech Conferences & Exhibitions has officially opened its doors to over 200 delegates from over 30 countries in the thriving city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for its annual event dedicated to the latest market developments and technology advances for the Asian cement industry.
The opening presentation by Yuri Serov of Morgan Stanley (UK) outlined a more promising outlook for global cement markets as the research house has upwardly revised its outlook for cement demand over the past four months to around three per cent in 2014 (excluding China). The main drag on growth this year is expected to be a decline in the countries of the former Soviet Union, largely due to the impact of the Ukrainian crisis. On the other hand, a final “bottoming out” in the western European correction will be an offsetting factor. Improvements are also expected this year in India, MENA (with Egypt being key), Latin America and the United States.
Focussing specifically on ASEAN markets Martin Wilkes of PT Marandale (Indonesia) remarked that consumption growth in the Cemtech host market of Malaysia is expected to be around 4-5 per cent. Capacity increases are underway with clinker capacity to hit 25Mta from around 20Mta today – more or less in line with demand growth. Thailand’s market expansion is being derailed by current political disruptions, but Vietnam is expected to return to growth following two years of decline in 2012 and 2013. In the Philippines, where the market is expected to continue exhibiting strong advances, Mr Wilkes believes that the Lafarge Holcim merger is likely to lead to the disposal of some assets currently held by Lafarge.
During a presentation focussing specifically on developments in the Indonesian market, Randolph Wintgens of Wintgens Associates commented that 21.3Mta of new capacity by existing producers will come online between 2013-17. In addition, seven projects by new entrants are also likely to come on-stream over the same period, amounting to a further 14.4Mta. An additional 30 projects have been announced but are deemed uncertain or unlikely to be realised. In terms of the outlook for cement demand, Mr Wintgens forecasts strong demand going forward but at slower rate than in the past two years.
On the trading front, a presentation by Marilyn Gardner of MGardner Consultancy stressed that a general build-up in capacity in the Asia Pacific region will see trade playing an increasingly important role for producers to manage their surpluses and stabilise markets.
The conference continues with a range of presentations focussing on all areas of cement manufacturing technology. A large exhibition accompanies the three-day meeting, featuring many of the leading equipment suppliers active in the region and serving the international cement industry.