According to the Mid-2013 Updated: Global Cement Volume Forecast Report (GCVFR) released in early September by CW Research, cement markets around the world began to stabilize, even though Europe is further downgraded, as well as some other emerging markets. The twice-yearly report projects a slight uptick in world cement demand, driven by an upgrade of Chinese demand. Europe, North Africa, Middle East and parts of Latin America see heavy downgrades in the short-term and medium-term.
CW Research’s forecast for the current year was revised to 3.92 billion tons, up 4.9 percent compared to last year. However, in the mid-2013 update, world cement ex-China consumption growth rate advanced at its slowest pace since the crisis in 2008–2009, rising only 2.7 percent to 1.6 billion tons. “Even though we have a bottom-up approach, where we model each country individually, we can see in the aggregate that the global economy remains mired in a morass of headwinds and optimism has waned in many markets at a dramatic pace.
“Geopolitical issues aside, weaker global resource trade keeps pressuring emerging markets, fuelling inflation in some cases, lack of public spending in others. The drag is taking its toll on construction and we are materially less optimistic about 2013 and 2014 than we were six months ago,” said Robert Madeira, CW Group managing director and head of research.
However, in the long run and from a global perspective, the CW Research forecast looks more optimistic, but mainly as a result of Chinese performance. For many regions growth remains muted and uncertain. Growth outside China is expected to pick up speed during 2014, but will remain lower than what was projected in the first half of 2013. Worldwide, most regions trend weak, with European markets taking the heaviest hit and cement demand volumes still shrinking sharply.
CW Research sees China – the current global cement leader – building on positive results from 2012 and during the first half of 2013. With the upward revision in the Chinese outlook, the 2013 Global Cement Volume Forecast Report outlook has been raised on the back of a strong production growth in the first half of 2013, which also contributed to an upswing of the longer-term revised trend. As a result, the world cement volume forecast expanded upwards 0.2 percent for 2013 and 0.4 percent for 2014.