Global cement consumption can decline three percent to 3.94 billion tons in 2050.

According to CW Research’s long-term forecast on cement demand – available in the 1H2018 update of the Global Cement Volume Forecast Report (GCVFR) – factors such as environmental restrictions, cement substitutes and evolving construction methods would be among the main constraints for cement consumption in developed markets. Conversely, population growth and rising urbanization rates in emerging economies could offset that trend.

“Brisk population growth in some regions, coupled with rapidly growing urbanization rates in under-developed and emerging economies, is likely to positively impact demand levels to 2050. Given that population growth in emerging and under-developed markets is growing at a clipper rate, per-capita cement demand will grow slower than total cement demand in these markets”, observes Raluca Cercel, Associate with CW Research.

Use of alternative building materials to increase

Whereas in under-developed geographies cement demand is likely to be largely driven by investments in infrastructure and housing, in mature economies total and per-capita cement consumption will possibly experience a modest decrease until 2050.

Already developed, these markets are likely to register an increase in the usage of alternative building materials. Coupled with the purchasing power that enables the usage of new materials, and ever-tightening environmental regulations, using materials other than cement with properties similar to the conventional building materials will probably occur more often.

Mature economies to experience a slowdown

The Chinese cement market, currently at a demand peak of 2.3 billion tons, is prone to a significant contraction, mainly driven by the government’s capacity rationalization efforts.

In North America, Western Europe, and some developed Asia/Pacific countries, a decrease in cement consumption in the next 33 years is also projected. Nonetheless, recurrent construction and maintenance needs will likely smoothen the decline of consumption through 2050.

Despite an expected increase in GDP, Eastern Europe could likewise follow a contracting trend in cement consumption, partly due to the usage of substitute materials.

Markets in North Africa, Middle East, South America and Emerging Asia will most probably see their GDPs undergo a more-than-double increase to 2050, which, coupled with population increase, points towards the likelihood of cement demand growth.

 

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