The minimum stagnation of the cement market in Catalonia is maintained to August 2018, the last month with data estimated by the Oficemen Cement Barometer. The lack of infrastructure projects and the limited activity of residential construction have set the forecast at 155 thousand tons, which puts the consumption of the last 12 months at 1.9 million tons, only 7.5% higher than that of the last year. This percentage increase must be put into context, since it is based on extremely low amounts from the time of the economic crisis. In fact, if you compare the current consumption of cement in Catalonia with that of the year 2007, when it reached the historical maximum, the fall is 78%.
The situation of the industry presents other elements of concern. Production, for example, decreased by 2.5% compared to August 2017, and has fallen by 3 million tons per year. The operational capacity of the existing factories in Catalonia exceeds 7 million tons per year. This means that domestic consumption only uses 26% of this production capacity, and that the total occupied capacity (domestic consumption plus exports) does not even reach 50%.
Exports are also a demonstration of the loss of competitiveness of the sector. In the month of July they were reduced by half compared to July 2017, and in the whole of the last year have decreased by 17%, with a total amount of just over 2.1 million tons. Three years ago, 2 of every 3 tons of cement produced in Catalonia exported; Now it’s only 1 out of 2.
The increase in energy prices (both electric and petroleum coke) together with the increase in the price of CO2 emission rights explain this loss of competitiveness. A simple way to recover it would be to authorize and make available to the factories more quantity of materials to be energetically valued. This measure would not only favor the industry, but would entail social and environmental benefits, because it would avoid the dumping of waste and would help reduce CO2 emissions, the gas that contributes most to global warming.