Navigating the bumpy road to recovery

2009 was a very challenging year for the industry, but discipline prevailed. 2009 cement volume trends collapsed (demand was down by –6%e excluding China), except in several big emerging markets (demand was up 6.5%e including China). In most mature countries, 2009 volumes remained under heavy pressure. The stimulus packages have not impacted the demand. Some heavy building materials manufacturers expressed some disappointment over the length of the implementation of the US recovery plan. Non residential & Housing trends deteriorated further.
As regards emerging markets, the Eastern European trading conditions remained extremely weak. The strong volumes trends witnessed in a number of emerging countries, such as India, Middle-East, North Africa and China continued (largely due to infrastructure investment and rural demand). Most emerging markets in South East Asia and Latin American recorded some volume stagnation, though of a more moderate magnitude than in Europe and in the USA.
The cement industry reacted quickly & rationally to the new environment by focusing on restructuring
However, margin improvements were challenged by the collapse of demand in the northern hemisphere and by the eroding even resilient pricing environment. Tight balance sheets management imposed to groups to remain discipline and as a consequence cement prices were relatively resilient.
2010 volume could be weak in mature markets but solid in emerging markets
Author: А. Pinatel

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