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A whistle-stop tour: Europe

World Cement,

Cement markets in Europe

One thing is certain in Europe: much of what can affect the construction industry comes down to the behaviour of the weather! The harsh winter, particularly in February of this year, saw many construction sites in Western and Northern Europe come to a temporary halt and this obviously impacted the first quarter results not only of the big players but also the smaller ones. The sideways movement in Germany’s economy at the end of 2011 continued in the first three months of this year. The severe weather mentioned resulted in decreased cement shipments (-9%) when compared with the mild conditions in the first quarter of 2011. Demand in France was dampened by fiscal measures to curb sovereign debt affecting the construction industry, while the lack of public and private sector projects in Italy and Spain – in no small measure accentuated by the Eurozone crisis – continues.

In 2012, most countries in Southern and Eastern Europe continued to suffer from weak construction activity, with public sector cost-cutting negatively impacting infrastructure projects. The positive macroeconomic policy developed by Poland in 2011 continued in the first three months of this year, but inevitably after the vigorous growth in the construction industry things are bound to slow down. Investment projects partially funded by the EU towards the 2012 European Football Championships are now almost finalised. Cement consumption in Ukraine in the first quarter of 2012 was 3% up on the previous levels in 2011, but the construction industry has contracted slightly.

However, the positive trend of Russia’s economy continued in the first quarter of 2012, during which the construction industry grew by 9% compared with the same period in 2011, and cement consumption exceeding the previous year’s figure by 14%. Construction spending in the Czech Republic is expected to stagnate, with the construction industry continuing to decline.


Company reports and press releases, online news agencies, Reuters, the PCA, The Daily Star, The Jakarta Post, Business Standard and other newspapers, World Cement (April & June 2012 issues).

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook

This article is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the July 2012 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.

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