Global cement consumption is expected to show sustained growth in 2015, with further gains forecast for 2016, according to analysis presented in the recently-released Global Cement Report Eleventh Edition.
The report, which covers key cement market data for more than 170 countries, reveals that total world consumption rose by 2.6 percent in 2014 to 4140 metric tons, compared to the 7.7 percent growth achieved in 2013. Global demand growth has been driven by the phenomenon of China, which has increased its share of world consumption to reach 59 percent in 2014.
Closer analysis shows that steady growth has prevailed in the emerging markets where in 2014 consumption (excluding China) increased by 2.7 percent 1387 metric tons. In the mature markets of Europe and North America, overall demand growth returned to positive territory in 2014, rising by 2.8 percent to reach 290.6Mt.
The top five consuming nations in 2014 were China, India, USA, Brazil and Russia. A total of 10 Asian countries are represented in the top 20, and while two east Asian nations - the Philippines and Malaysia - entered the top 20 for the first time, France and Italy fell out, reflecting the decline of western European consumption.
Demand in China reached a record 2462 metric tons, translating into an annual increase of 2.6 percent - the slowest growth rate in decades and well below the double-digit levels seen in recent years. These indicators suggest that the country is nearing peak demand for cement as the construction industry resets to a slower, more sustainable growth path.
In terms of regional performances, North America has been leading gains in the developed world where last year demand rose by a vigorous 8.2 percent in 2014 versus 3.9 percent a year earlier.
The best-performing regions across the world over the 2012-14 period have proved to be in the emerging markets of sub-Saharan Africa, led by central Africa with double-digit rate increases in each year.
Looking ahead, general improvements in global growth trends are expected in 2015 and 2016, with forecasted increases of 3.3 and 4.6 percent, respectively. North and central Asia are set to excel, as will much of Africa. Overall growth in Asia is forecast to be around 3 to 5 percent, partly reflecting China's expected lower growth course. The Middle East and western Europe are expected to rebound, but obvious downside and political risks prevail.
The Global Cement Report 11th Edition features cement consumption, production and trading data for over 170 countries with analysis and forecasts to 2016.