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Indian cement shipments generally up in August

World Cement,

August is typically a relatively slow month for Indian industries, being as it is in the midst of the monsoon season. This year, however, the development of the monsoon has been slow and, although industries may pay the price later on in the year, it has meant strong results for cement manufacturers.

Significant growth
Shree Cement reported an increase of almost 30% in its August shipments, up to 689 000 t from 531 000 t in August 2008. The company has had a good beginning to this financial year, recording a 32.18% rise in total shipments in the April – August period to 3.82 million t.

Recording similarly high growth, the Aditya Birla group (incorporating Grasim Industries and UltraTech Cement) achieved a 32.2% growth in its August shipments y/y and a 38.3% growth in production in the same month.

Holcim’s Indian subsidiary companies, ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cements, also saw a y/y increase in August shipments, at 7.1% and 15.3% respectively. ACC Ltd shipped 1.65 million t of cement and produced 1.63 million t, up from 1.52 million t in August 2008. Ambuja Cements’ shipments hit 1.43 million t, whilst production rose to 1.42 million t from 1.21 million t last year.

Transport links
Tying in with the increased demand for construction products, the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training has reported that truck sales increased by 13% y/y in August, having previously experienced significant decreases in every quarter from October 2008 to June 2009. In particular, sales of the heavy multi-axle trailer trucks used to transport cement reportedly increased by 91% in August.

Meanwhile it has also been reported that Indian Railways recorded almost a 12% growth in freight loading in August, at 72.9 million t, thanks to increased demand for freight products including cement.

Growth in the volume of coal loaded has been put at 16.5%, while cement and steel both recorded a 15% increase. The increase has been partly attributed to the Railways’ incentives that are aimed at increasing bulk traffic.

What next?
The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) warns that the poor progress of the monsoon will affect industrial growth and has revised its estimates accordingly, downgrading industrial production growth from 5.1% to 4.8%. This remains higher than the growth experienced in FY08/09 and is impacted by strong demand in the non-agricultural based industries such as cement. CMIE estimate Indian GDP to grow by 5.8% in FY09/10, revised from the earlier anticipated 6.6%.

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