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Global viewpoint: Latin American cement sector

World Cement,

As you read this issue, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be well underway. Those fortunate enough to have tickets will judge for themselves whether the delays in the infrastructure and building of the stadia that caused such concern at the beginning of the year were well founded. Once it’s over, the government, led by President Dilma Rousseff, will be looking to the Presidential election in October. It is widely felt that whoever wins will have to make deep budget cuts, raise taxes and take difficult steps to address the country’s financial imbalances. This hard landing for the economy comes after a decade in which Brazil was one of the world’s most dynamic emerging markets.

In Colombia, the government is planning to inject up to US$25 billion on infrastructure projects including more than US$8 billion on 12 roadway projects. The programme of investment will continue into 2015 and the prediction is that this will add 1 – 1.5% to GDP.

A recent report on the construction industry in Chile provides a positive view on the back of an investor-friendly business environment, political stability and a strong pipeline of projects. The report from BMI expects the construction industry to more than double in the next decade, reaching US$51.5 billion by the end of the period 2014 – 2023. Single digit increases in cement volumes are expected to continue. In Peru, it is believed that the new Loesche mill in Yura SA’s cement plant is scheduled to begin operating about now. Ecebol in Bolivia will build a 3000 tpd greenfield plant in Oruro, with completion scheduled for 2017. It is not often one hears about investments in mini cement plants, so it is interesting to see that the government in Venezuela has reportedly approved a US$74 million investment in the construction of five mini plants in various parts of the country.

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the July 2014 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.

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