Cement Plants Report Red Numbers

In Panama, the import of cement and the depressed activity of the construction sector explain the fall in the production of concrete and cement in the first half of the year.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

According to data from the General Comptroller of the Republic, between the first six months of 2018 and the same period of 2019, the total cost of construction went from $662 million to $510 million, which is equivalent to a fall of 23%. This decline in the sector has been recorded for years.

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In this context of declining construction, ready-mix production has also fallen. Figures show that from January to June of this year concrete production reached 614,210 cubic meters and cement production 749,235 metric tons, which is equivalent to a 10% and 12% drop with respect to the first half of 2018, respectively.

Prensa.com reports that "... Jose Luis Gonzalez, director of Cemex, a company that in 2017 inaugurated an additive plant with an investment of $15 million dollars, commented that the completion of infrastructure projects such as Line 2 of the Metro and the third bridge over the Panama Canal, added to the brake on private construction, have impacted the demand for concrete, cement and other construction-related products."

Also see "Cement: Imports up 6% in 2018

Harry Abuchaibe, manager of Argos Panama, explained that "... Faced with a declining local market and growing imports, we evidently noticed an impact on local industry because of asymmetries in quality standards, sustainability and legal compliance. Local producers are prepared to meet the national demand at competitive prices, and, most importantly, generating decent and quality employment and tax benefits."

According to reports from CentralAmericaData, between 2017 and 2018 imports of hydraulic cement in Panama practically doubled, from $6.1 million to $12.8 million.

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The restriction to the construction activity due to the sanitary emergency and culmination of the third set of locks of the Canal, forces the cement producing companies in Panama to enter in "hibernation" mode.

The spread of covid-19 severely affected the Panamanian construction industry, as the government banned work on most projects.

Cement: Regional Purchases Up 9%

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In the first three months of 2018, countries in Central America imported $36 million worth of hydraulic cement, 9% more than was purchased in the same period in 2017.

Figures from the Information System on the Hydraulic Cement Market in Central America, compiled by the Business Intelligence Unit at CentralAmericaData: [GRAFICA caption = "Click to interact with graph"] 

The Cement Business in the Dominican Republic

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Seven companies are competing in a market which in the first semester of this year reported sales worth around $223 million.

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The plant that Mexico's Cemex operates in Escuintla will increase its production capacity by 10%, reaching 545 thousand tons a year.

In addition to the increased production capacity, with the improvements made to the plant, capacity for bagging cement will rise by 46%, going from 65 to 95 tons per hour.

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