Cement Market - China Is in Control of the World’s Cement Trade

Cement, Lime And Plaster August 04, 2015
Author: Olga Minchina
Account Manager

cement market

Cement, along with steel and oil, is one of the world's basic commodities. In the construction sector, cement is a highly versatile material, used for building houses, roads and infrastructure. The cement industry's growth is, thus, inexorably linked to the global construction sector, and is further pushed forward by advances in technology and higher disposable incomes.

Recently, consumption on the cement market, due in large part to urbanization and industrialization, has increased considerably in countries with fast-growing economies, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, which holds the largest share of the global cement market. Other emerging countries, Brazil, for example, are characterized by great opportunities for growth.

In 2014, the U.S. (8.8%), Singapore (6.8%), Algeria (6.5%), Sri Lanka (5.0%) and the Russian Federation (4.9%) were the leading destinations of cement imports, together making up 32.0% of global imports in physical terms. And while the share of Algeria increased significantly, the share of the U.S. illustrated negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In 2014, China and Pakistan were the main global suppliers of cement with a combined share of 16.1% of global exports. However, the fastest growing suppliers from 2007 to 2014 were Viet Nam (+105.6% per year) and Spain (+18.0% per year). Despite being the largest global producers of cement, China and India did not export much of their production, meaning that it was domestically consumed.

China dominates in global cement production and trade. In 2014, China exported 0.4% of its total cement output. Of this amount, 14.5% was supplied into Mongolia, where Chinese cement held more than the half of total Mongolia's consumption.

A consistent upswing in residential and commercial building construction in China and India has translated into a growing demand for cement. Approximately half of all global cement is produced and consumed by China. Sprouting urbanization is a vital factor determining this cement consumption.

More than 20 million people annually move to cities in China, exceeding the number of residents in the downtown areas of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined. With such vertiginous urbanization, it is hard to imagine that as recently as 1978, city-dwellers in China accounted for less than a fifth of its population. Further helping the cement industry is a lack of lumber in China, forcing the Chinese building and construction sectors to resort mainly to cement. Finally, many Chinese cement manufacturers are State owned, therefore benefitting from governmental help.

Solid demand continues to propel the cement sector in the EU and the U.S. The U.S. is the major concrete and cement market in North America. California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Alabama manufacture approximately half of all U.S. cement.

Admittedly, the global cement industry has had to respond to serious challenges, for instance diminishing raw materials and fossil fuel reserves, continuously growing demand for cement and concrete, and pressing environmental issues closely connected with climate change.

While more environmentally friendly means of cement production are being explored and implemented by the cement industry, Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) still remains the prevailing cement type. It represents a mixture produced by burning clay and limestone. Every tonne of OPC that is manufactured emits an analogous amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Therefore, enhanced manufacturing techniques and formulations that scale down or eradicate CO2 emissions from the cement production currently remain high on the agenda.

Do you want to know more about the global cement market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • cement market share
  • cement prices
  • cement industry
  • cement sales
  • cement market forecast
  • cement price forecast
  • key cement producers

Source: World: Cement - Market Report. Analysis and Forecast to 2020