Cembureau: 4Q13 economic improvement in Europe

Cembureau: 4Q13 economic improvement in Europe
07 May 2014


Cembureau noted a clear improvement in the macroeconomic and industrial environment across the EU over the second half of 2013, gaining some momentum in 4Q13, resulting in overall better annual 2013 figures compared to one year earlier. Real GDP growth in 2013 was 0.1 per cent (versus -0.4 per cent in 2012) in the EU.

Germany recorded a GDP growth of 0.4 per cent (versus 0.7 per cent) and France of 0.3 per cent (versus 0 per cent). Italy and Spain remained in recession, albeit less severe (-1.9 per cent and -1.2 per cent vs 2.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent in 2012 respectively).

Industrial production in 4Q13 was slightly on the rise in Germany, stable in France, but remained at very low levels in historical terms in Italy and Spain.

Leading indicators for construction activity in 4Q13 (construction production index and construction investment) signalled low construction levels in historical terms, albeit somewhat stabilising, particularly in Italy and Spain where these indicators have been plummeting since the peak of the previous construction cycle.

Cement manufacturing production indices in 4Q13 continued to fall since their peak by 42 per cent in Italy and by over 73 per cent in Spain.

European industrial production increased compared to 3Q13 by 0.5 per cent (fourth consecutive quarterly increase translating into a YoY increase of 1.8 per cent. It remained above the historical low of 2Q09 but well below the peak of 1Q08. Cumulative losses since the peak have reached 10.4 per cent.

The cement manufacturing production index fell by one per cent but rose by 1.4 per cent YoY, having clearly bottomed out since 1Q13.

Construction investment increased slightly on a quarterly basis for a third consecutive quarter (by 0.2 per cent), but the residential subsector fell by 0.3 per cent and so far has experienced a more pronounced decrease since its peak.

Building permits continued to decrease on a yearly basis in 3Q13 by 13 per cent, signalling subdued construction activity.

In Germany cement manufacturing decreased by 0.7 on a quarterly basis but recorded a growth of 4.7 per cent YoY, remaining around the levels observed since 1Q12.

Neighbours France saw cement production fall by 0.6 per cent after two quarterly increases, but remained at low levels in historical terms. In 2013 as a whole production fell by 2.5 per cent, slowing from the more severe drop of 7.5 per cent in 2012.

In Italy cement manufacturing continued to decline, ie by 9.3 per cent QoQ resulting in the lowest level on record and a cumulative fall of 42 per cent since 1Q05. Even so, the 2013 annual growth rate has been positive at 1.3 per cent (due to the very positive figure in 2Q13) further to the 19.3 per cent fall in 2012.

Finally, in Spain cement manufacturing recorded the second consecutive increase QoQ (2.6 per cent) anticipating that cement production bottomed out from the historical low of 1Q13. However, the overall decline since the peak of 1Q07 has been of 73.6 per cent.

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: 4Q13 Cembureau