Portugal's cement exporters face fresh challenges

Portugal's cement exporters face fresh challenges
15 September 2017

Portugal’s cement sector has had little choice but to export cement since the euro crisis, but now it faces a new threat of needing to compete with other countries that have begun increasing cement and clinker exports.

Six years ago it was a simple decision for Portugal's leading cement markesrs. With the construction industry paralysed and supported by a weak euro, they ploughed their efforts into selling abroad and their exports soared from close to nothing to more than 60 per cent of production, reports the Financial Times.

"In a very short time and by an enormous effort of cost-cutting and commercial prospecting, we had to remake ourselves as exporters," said Gonçalo Salazar Leite, head of Portugal’s cement industry association.

"We saved jobs and kept the country's six cement plants up and running."

The Financial Times reports that, six years on the eurozone is recovering, and with it the euro, which has soared from US$1.05 in December to US$1.20, Mr Salazar Leite and his members face a different question: can they stay competitive and fend off rivals from China, Egypt and Turkey?

Mr Salazar Leite believes they can. "Any additional factors such as the exchange rate puts us under even more pressure," he says. "[But] we overcame much tougher challenges during the crisis, and I’m sure we’ll overcome this one too."

In Portugal many share Mr Salazar Leite’s view that changes made during the crash will leave them better able to cope.

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: Portugal Trade