Egypt’s cement industry continues to report strong sales indicators, recording its highest sales in years during December 2020.
The latest incoming sector data could signal recovery in demand, coming from both real estate and infrastructure. At the same time, it also comes on the back of industry talk that the government could intervene with the objective of protecting the sector. This would take place through the state setting up stipulated quotas and bringing in a minimum support price system.
Total sales recorded 4.66 metric tonnes (mt), including exports, during December, up 3.5% month-on-month (m-o-m) and 4.7% year-on-year (y-o-y). This reflects the highest figures in recent years, as well as an increase for the third consecutive month, wherein sales recorded/exceeded run rates from before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For the full year 2020, total industry sales amounted to 47.5mt, down 5.8% y-o-y, implying a utilisation rate of 59%, versus the 62% recorded in 2019. Despite the strong demand recorded in December 2020, excess industry capacity still stood at 31% during the month.
With regards to individual producers, Misr Beni Suef Cement (MBSC), Misr Cement Qena, and Sinai Cement all performed strongly during the month as well as for the final quarter (Q4) of 2020.
Misr Cement Qena’s sales volumes increased 12% m-o-m and 31% y-o-y. MBSC’s volumes continue to touch new records, with volumes of 282kt, increasing by 27% m-o-m and 28% y-o-y.
Sinai Cement’s sales were flat m-o-m, but rose 62% y-o-y. However, Arabian Cement’s performance continues to remain weak, as sales declined 29% m-o-m and 44% y-o-y to 225kt, likely to have been impacted by maintenance activities. The country’s second largest producer, Suez Cement, posted sales of 538kt, down 9% m-o-m and 1% y-o-y.