The effects of the state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic continue to affect the Catalan cement industry. Although the statistics are not as harsh as in April (where the domestic market plummeted 59%), consumption has still fallen 7% last May compared to the same month the previous year. The scenario of economic paralysis has led companies to significantly reduce their production, which fell by 14% in May, and also to multiply their export efforts, despite the low profitability of these operations, burdened by the lack of competitiveness due to energy costs. In May, cement and clinker sales in foreign markets more than doubled (+ 121%), but still accumulated a decrease of 21% in the mobile year as a whole (last 12 months compared to the previous 12).
Salvador Fernández Capo, president of Ciment Català, reiterates “the importance of Construction for the maintenance of jobs”, given that this is a sector that induces economic activity in society as a whole. Fernández Capo recalls that the current situation “is very compromised” and insists “on the need to act. We continue to be below normal, with a year-on-year cement consumption of just over 2 million tons, more than a third lower than the historical average of the last decades “. For this reason, it demands that “public works continue to be promoted beyond the short term”, as a formula for both the national economic recovery and to provide society with the set of essential infrastructures to face the deficiencies discovered during the health emergency.
Despite the current difficult situation, the Catalan cement industry continues to move towards carbon neutrality, according to the Green Deal promoted by the European Union. The investment effort that this improvement represents both in R + D + i and in the application of new technologies cannot be sustained by companies if the pessimistic expectations that exist right now do not change. Only determined action by public administrations, promoting the development, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, will allow the sector to meet its environmental objectives.