The estimates of the Oficemen Cement Barometer corresponding to the last month of October confirm the situation of stagnation of the sector in Catalonia. In the whole of the last 12 months, the domestic market has absorbed 1.85 million tons of cement, representing a growth of 3.3% over the previous period. In the cumulative 2018 (from January to October), the stagnation is even more marked, since the variation is 0%.
Worse are the data related to production and exports. In terms of manufacturing, the mobile year shows a decrease of 6.2%, with just over 2.8 million tons produced in Catalonia. The foreign market, on the other hand, suffers a fall of 19% in relation to the previous year, and in the last year only 2.1 million tons have been exported between cement and clinker (the product prior to cement).
The president of Ciment Català, Salvador Fernández Capo, considers that the magnitudes of the activity of the sector show “a progressive downward trend. In 2017, the demand for cement in Catalonia grew more than 16%. This year it is foreseeable that the growth is close to zero”. The paralysis in the construction and maintenance of public infrastructures appears as the main cause of the sector’s situation.
In addition, the competitiveness of Catalan factories is threatened in recent months by energy costs, especially those arising from the auction of electricity. “Our industry must assume the interruptability of the electric power with such a small economic compensation and with conditions and restrictions so great that our costs do not stop growing, which makes production more expensive and reduces our competitiveness to export”, concludes the president of Ciment Català. Statistical data collected throughout 2018 show that the situation of Catalan factories has worsened compared to the rest of the State, both in terms of consumption in the domestic market and in terms of production and exports.