PROJECTS: Egypt cement firms hit by low demand due to COVID-19

Demand dips by 43 mln tonnes

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. White exterior of an industrial concrete factory complex.

Image used for illustrative purpose. White exterior of an industrial concrete factory complex.

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The spread of Coronavirus has sharply depressed cement demand in Egypt, creating a massive surplus which inflicted heavy losses on local producers.

In a statement issued after an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday, cement producers said domestic demand is expected to plummet to around 43 million tonnes in 2020, way below their output capacity of nearly 83 million tonnes a year.

As a result, supply surplus in the local market has exceeded 35 million tonnes so far this year and could worsen by the year end, they said.

"This has caused large losses to the cement companies in the country...we appeal to the government to intervene urgently to tackle this problem which could be aggravated by an expected sharp fall in investment in this vital sector," said Midhat Estafanus, chairman of the cement division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries.

In a statement carried by Al-Watan and other local newspapers, Estafanus said a government emergency rescue plan is needed urgently to "pull the cement sector out of this dark tunnel," adding that cement accounts for nearly 10 percent of Egypt's manufacturing sector and is one of the main job providers.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)

(anoop.menon@refinitiv.com)

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