"The persistent low level of investment in trade and industry has had a noticeable effect on the cement market", says Gerhard Hirth, President of the German Cement Works Association. Despite the generally positive economic climate, no additional demand impetus came from this construction segment. "One positive aspect is that the figures for the 4th quarter of 2015 were nearly 4 per cent higher than in the previous year" according to Hirth. "Two extra working days and good weather conditions were a great help both to us and the building industry."
According to the figures now available, domestic demand for cement last year was to a large extent covered by German manufacturers. Only 1.2 Million tonnes or around 5 per cent of the cement required had to be imported in 2015. This represents a 6.5 per cent drop as compared to the same period of the previous year. In contrast, exports of cement and clinker have seen an increase – according to the German Federal Statistical Office, the figures are around 6.5 per cent higher than for the preceding year, totalling 6.6 Million tonnes.
Gerhard Hirth is of the opinion that the German cement industry can generally be optimistic about its future prospects. "At present there is a great deal of political pressure to create affordable living accommodation and to improve the transport infrastructure. We are expecting this to have a positive influence on cement consumption, particularly for the construction of multi-storey buildings and in the public civil engineering sector", explained the VDZ president.
In Germany, cement consumption is made up of domestic cement deliveries from German cement manufacturers and cement imports. VDZ obtains ist information on cement imports and exports from the foreign trade data of the German Federal Statistical Office. 19 German cement manufacturers with a total of 49 cement works are members of the German Cement Works Association. The sector generates an annual turnover of around 2.5 billion euros in Germany and employs approx. 7,900 people.