Cement consumption recovers 8.4% in the first quarter
Cement consumption in Spain has grown by 8.4% in the first quarter of 2021, reaching 3,378,281 tons, 262,926 tons more than in the same period of 2020, according to the latest data published in the Cement Statistics. However, this improvement is not due to a structural change in the evolution of consumption, but to the growth experienced by the values when entering the comparison in March of last year, with the beginning of the confinement, which entailed the practical paralysis of economic activities.
“You have to look very cautiously at the percentage data for March, which shows a growth of 52.6% when compared to the beginning of the pandemic, when the stoppage of many of the works weighed down consumption by about 30%. In absolute values, the month of March 2021 had a cement consumption in our country of 1,407,082 tons, a figure that exceeds by 9.3% that of March 2019, whose data before to the pandemic give a more realistic image for the comparison ”, explains the president of Oficemen, Víctor García Brosa.
If we compare the data for the first quarter of 2021 with those of 2019, a drop of close to 6% in consumption is observed, compatible with the current level of activity in the sector in the context of the current crisis, with respect to the pre-Covid starting values. . The data for the rolling year (April 20 / March 21) maintain a 4.9% drop compared to the previous period.
“In April, with the total closure of non-essential activities, the fall was even greater, so we do not believe that we will have accumulated data, adjusted to a real evolution of consumption, until after the summer, the turning point in the that the de-escalation allowed the resumption of many of the postponed works in the worst moments of the pandemic “, adds García Brosa, who recalls that” from Oficemen it was already communicated that a stable year 2021 is expected compared to 2020, given the uncertainty of the arrival of the funds to reactivate the economy and the evolution of the pandemic ”.
Exports grew 17.5% in March and stood at 664,776 tons. In accumulated data for the rolling year (April 20 / March 21), growth moderates to 6.2%, although the level of six million tons is once again exceeded.
In this sense, when evaluating the comparison of export data for 2021, according to Oficemen, “the zig-zag evolution experienced by exports from March of last year, very marked by the openings and closings of the different markets depending on the incidence of the pandemic in each country ”.