In the second quarter of 2019, world gray cement ex-works prices continued to display mixed trends across geographies, declining in China, yet surging in the Middle East, according to the 2Q2019 update of CW Research’s Global Cement Trade Price Report (GCTPR).
Trade prices for gray cement fell over the same quarter last year.
“There was a remarkable upturn in gray cement ex-works prices in the Middle East during the quarter, stirred by domestic trends in Saudi Arabia. While lower clinker inventories and seasonality help to explain the surge, future quarters must be cautiously dissected to assess the support of current prices”, notes Prashant Singh, CW Group’s Associate Director.
Domestic prices decline in China, rise in US
In China, cement ex-works price stood at USD 64 per ton, a double-digit contraction as compared to the same period the previous year. While maintaining part of the gains achieved in 2018, prices for the second quarter reflect the depreciation of the Chinese yuan and the exceptionality of last year’s spring prices.
In the US, the ex-works price of cement improved on a year-on-year basis, driven by higher demand overall, but mitigated by unfavorable weather conditions in certain regions.
In the Middle East, prices jumped over 12 percent year-on-year. Saudi Arabia accounted for most of the increase, as local companies reported much higher revenues amid smaller clinker inventories.
Turkey continues to lead gray cement exports
In the second quarter of 2019, gray cement average FOB prices continued decreasing, estimated to have reached around USD 60 per ton for the set of 45 countries with estimated data for the period.
In CW Research’s set of countries with data for the second quarter of 2019, Turkey continues to be the largest exporter of gray cement on a global scale, recording an annual surge of over 31 percent in shipped volumes.
With the exception of Middle East, Western Europe, and North America and the Caribbean, all other regions registered a decline in trade prices during the second quarter when compared to the first quarter.
Clinker volumes on a solid climb
White cement export volumes are estimated to have contracted to 1.3 million tons year-on-year for the set of reporting countries with complete data for the period. In terms of pricing, white cement average export prices dropped compared to the same period last year, while rising quarter-on-quarter.
Global trade volumes of clinker have recorded a solid double-digit expansion both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. For a set of 21 countries, average FOB prices of the commodity also rose in 2Q2019. During the period, Asia-Pacific-Japan is estimated to have exported over twelve million tons of clinker.
World slag export volumes improved when compared to the previous quarter. Trade prices also increased, recording a two-digit expansion as compared to the second quarter of 2018. In 2Q2019, Japan maintained its leadership in terms of global slag exports.
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