Between 2018 and 2023, white cement demand is projected to rise by an average of two percent per year, according to CW Research’s 2018 update of the Global White Cement Market and Trade Report .
The lower demand growth rate anticipated for the period as compared to CW Research’s 2017 report is justified by the lower consumption anticipated in China. The slowdown in construction, already visible in the country, will have an impact not only on gray cement, but also on white cement, used mostly for aesthetical purposes.
“When it comes to such a premium product as white cement, its popularity is higher in advanced economies. However, expanding GDP and growing consumer spending in developing markets in Asia ex-China will offset slower white cement demand in China during the next five years”, observes Tea Vukicevic, CW Group’s Associate Analyst.
From a regional perspective, Asia ex-China, Eastern Europe & CIS and North America are expected to lead growth in white cement consumption. In Asia ex-China, white cement consumption is expected to reach 3.1 million tons between 2018 and 2023. North America and Western Europe are regions that already have mature economies, whose usage of white cement is widespread. Therefore, these markets are projected to show an increasing appetite for the premium commodity, albeit with smaller growth margins.
Masonry applications lead white cement consumption
The increasing trend in global white cement consumption is likely to follow that of world economic growth, which is forecasted at an annual average of 3.8 percent. Given that white cement is considered a value-added product, it is more popular in countries with advanced economies. Therefore, GDP growth and increasing consumer spending are a combined driver for white cement consumption growth. It is, thus, unsurprising that, compared to gray cement, white cement consumption is much inferior, making for less than one percent of global cement demand.
Although the use of white cement varies from applications with aesthetic requirements to structural ones, masonry applications account for the largest share of white cement consumption from a global perspective.
United States fronts white cement imports
Given the scarcity of raw materials and the concentrated production units, trade is an important component in the white cement market structure. Currently, over thirty percent of total white cement demand is traded. In 2018, at the global level, Western Europe is the largest exporter of white cement, followed by Eastern Europe & CIS. Middle East emerges as the largest importing region of white cement, while North America holds the largest global importing market in 2018, the United States. So far in 2018, the United States imported about 1.2 million tons of white cement, mainly from Canada and Mexico.
“New capacities for white cement are shaping up in the US, and they are bound to ease the dependency on imports, though not eliminate it. It will matter greatly in the context of the simmering trade wars”, notes Robert Madeira, CW Group’s Managing Director and Head of Research.
There are 134 white cement plants operating at the global level, with a combined annual capacity of over thirty million tons. The largest white cement producer in the world is Cementir Holding, followed by Turkish Cimsa, and Cemex. HeidelbergCement, JK Cement, and Ultratech are also among the main global white cement producers.
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