According to latest dispatch indications, total cement industry sales, including exports, amounted to 4.33mt during March 2020, down by 3% m-o-m and 2% y-o-y, Naeem Research has reported.
The big surprise comes in local cement sales, which dropped m-o-m and y-o-y by 1.4% and 2.5%, respectively. This can be compared against market perceptions of a much steeper slowdown in construction activity.
March witnessed a spike in demand from the informal sector. The total sales volumes, including exports, for the first quarter (Q1) of full year 2020 were almost flat, rising by 1% q-o-q, and up by 4.9% y-o-y, amounting to a total of 13.21mt.
Cement sales started off strongly at the start of 2020, with prices growing by roughly 7%-10%. However, the momentum slowed starting March due to the government’s containment measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The anticipated near term demand for cement is expected to be weighed down further due to the ongoing global health crisis. This is adding to the woes of the cement industry, which has already been struggling with a severe supply glut.
For stocks under coverage, the quarterly sales performance is a mixed bag. Arabian Cement (ARCC) and South Valley Cement (SVCE) sales were almost flat q-o-q. Suez Cement (SUCE) and Misr Cement Qena (MCQE) sales were up q-o-q by 21%, and 22%, respectively. Sales for Misr-Beni Suef Cement sales dropped by 11% q-o-q.