Cement use falls for first time in 17yrs on building slowdown
Cement consumption dipped for the first time in 17 years to 6.2 million tonnes owing to depressed demand in the construction sector, Economic Survey 2018 shows.
About 6.7 million tonnes were used in 2016 but the volume declined by 8.2 per cent last year.
Consumption has risen steadily from year 2001. The last decline happened in 2000 when it stood at 1.067 million tonnes compared to 1.111 million tonnes the previous year.
“Cement consumption and stocks decreased … in 2017 owing to reduced demand in the construction sector,” said the survey.
The decline is also in line with the 22 per cent fall in the value of building plans approved last year. The plans were valued Sh240.8 billion, down from Sh308.4 billion in 2016, the survey showed.
Previous surveys showed that the major declines in the value of building plans was between 1999 and 2002 when economic growth was depressed for a prolonged period.
According to the data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, last year’s decline in cement use also came against the background of a decline in the growth of the construction sector.
“The sector recorded a slower growth of 8.6 per cent in 2017 compared to a 9.8 per cent growth in 2016. Cement consumption decreased by 8.2 per cent in 2017,” said KNBS director- general Zachary Mwangi in his presentation on last year’s economic growth.
The survey further showed that growth in use of galvanised sheets in construction also fell by a smaller margin of 2.2 per cent to stand at 262,800 tonnes from 268,700 tonnes in the previous year.