In the first quarter of 2019, global gray cement ex-works prices showed wide regional variation, contracting in South America, but recording solid growth in China, according to the 1Q2019 update of CW Research’s Global Cement Trade Price Report (GCTPR).
Trade prices for gray cement slipped over the first quarter, continuing the downward trend observed in the quarter that ended in December 2018.
“The global economy continues to encounter significant challenges from trade tensions, to political uncertainty and volatile oil prices. This has had a carryover effect on domestic cement prices with some exceptions. Countries like India, where Pan India prices rose quarter on quarter, buoyed by strong sustained demand from the construction sector”, assesses Prashant Singh, CW Group’s Associate Director.
Domestic prices up in China and US
In China, the average ex-works price of cement reached USD 63 per ton, which represents a double-digit growth rate on a yearly basis. Strict environmental regulations have led to a significant reduction of cement capacity and to favorable pricing when compared to the same period in 2018.
In the US, cement ex-works prices expanded slightly year-on-year, mainly driven by construction and street-and-highway spending, which increased in the first months of 2019. In the Middle East, average cement selling prices edged down year-on-year, with Saudi Arabia contributing the most to the decline, as a result of the delays of several projects in the housing sector.
Argentinian ex-works prices slumped over 20 percent when compared to the previous year. A large decrease in construction activity, due to a lack of investment combined with currency depreciation, contributed for the price decline.
Gray cement trade prices to slip further
In the first quarter of 2019, gray cement average FOB prices are estimated to have touched USD 59 per ton for the set of 46 countries with estimated data for the period, edging down quarter on quarter.
In CW Research’s set of countries with data for the quarter, Turkey strengthened its position as the largest exporter of gray cement on a global scale, having recorded a yearly surge of over 30 percent in shipped volumes.
With the exception of Asia-Pacific-Japan, all assessed regions are expected to see average FOB prices decline for gray cement in the second quarter of 2019, primarily in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Japan tops slag exports
In the first quarter of 2019, global slag export volumes increased when compared to the previous quarter, with FOB prices soaring over 30 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2018. During 1Q2019, Japan continued to cement its leadership in terms of world slag exports.
Also in the first quarter of 2019, white cement export volumes are estimated to have decreased to one million tons for the set of reporting countries with complete data for the period. In terms of pricing, white cement average export prices remained flat compared to the same period the previous year, while increasing quarter on quarter.
World clinker trade volumes plummeted quarter on quarter in 1Q2019, yet surged year on year. Average FOB prices of the commodity are estimated to have edged up for the set of 24 countries. In 1Q2019, Asia-Pacific-Japan is estimated to have exported nine million tons of clinker.
The Global Cement Trade Price Report (GCTPR) is CW Research’s benchmark price assessment for monthly gray cement, white cement, clinker and granulated blast furnace slag prices and volumes. The 150+ page report, published on a quarterly basis, serves as the industry go-to source for monthly price data for over 70 individual markets worldwide, including multiple cornerstone data series: import, export, ex-works and market prices. Find out more about the report here