The lack of investment in public works by all administrations slows the growth of cement sales in Catalonia. According to the data from the Barometer managed by Oficemen for July 2018, demand in Catalonia has increased by 1.5% in the last 12 months, estimated at almost 1.8 million tons. Although in July the growth was 7.2% compared to the same month of 2017, the highly irregular behavior of the market (with increases and monthly falls of more than 20%) has caused consumption to be almost at the same level as a year ago.
Neither the rest of magnitudes of the sector present remarkable developments. The cement production of the last year has grown by 4.1% and is close to 3 million tons, but if we take as a reference the accumulated of 2018 (January-July period) we find a decrease of 8.8%. Worse still are the data on exports, which in the last 12 months have fallen by 16.7%, with a total of 2.1 million tons.
The competitiveness of Catalan factories has been hampered in recent years by the constant increase in the price of electricity, particularly in recent months, and by the insufficient availability of alternative fuels to petroleum coke, which has also become more expensive. notably 2018. Now, in addition, another factor puts more pressure on companies: the sharp increase in the price of CO2 emission rights.
At August 31, the market marked the historic high, with € 21.1 per ton of CO2 emitted. Just a year ago, the price was € 5.9 per ton. This large increase of 358% makes the export of cement even more difficult, since production costs in Catalonia have skyrocketed. It is worth remembering that the emission of CO2 by the factories is impossible to avoid in almost 2/3 of the total, since it comes from the process of decarbonation of the limestone.