Economy, Business And Markets

Iran World’s Top Cement Exporter in 2014

Iran World’s Top Cement Exporter in 2014Iran World’s Top Cement Exporter in 2014

Iran ranked first in cement exports worldwide by sending more than 19 million tons of cement overseas last year, says Morteza Lotfi, the vice president of Cement Industry Employers Association.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Second International Cement Industrial Exhibition: Market, Export, Equipment, and Environment, the official went on to say that Iran had a 7-percent share in the 4.1 billion tons of cement produced worldwide in 2014 while China accounted for 50% of the total.

Lotfi noted that domestic cement production currently stands at 80 million tons per annum and stressed the importance of the private sector's involvement in the economy.

"The association is still powerless to manage its own affairs including pricing its products, while President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly called on the government to relinquish some authority to the private sector," ISNA quoted him as saying.

Jalal Saffarzadeh, a veteran player in the cement industry, who was also present at the exhibition, said 85% of equipment in cement industry, including steel gears and rails, are now manufactured by local producers.

"Cement production has soared to 230,000 tons a day from 100 tons in 1993s," he said.

Nearly 250 million tons of cement were traded across the world in 2014. Pakistan and Turkmenistan, among other CIS countries, are the main target export markets for the Iranian cement, besides Afghanistan and Iraq, although cement export to Iraq has somewhat ebbed away due to insecurity and political situation in the Arab country.

Pointing out that a number of cement industries in the country have obtained 'Green Industry Certificates', Lotfi commended the industry's compliance with environment regulations and said all of the manufacturing units in the country are monitored by environment office, and have pollution rates lower than the global benchmarks.

Last month, secretary of the Cement Industry Employers Association, Abdolreza Sheykhan announced that cement would soon be offered at Iran Mercantile Exchange's export trading floor.

Cement manufacturers believe offering products on IME's export trading floor will help increase prices since there is no price restriction unlike in the domestic market. The absence or presence of cement on the export trading floor has long caused challenges for manufacturers. Although the domestic trading floors have, on numerous occasions, expressed readiness to admit cement, the cement industry seems to be unwilling to do so, preferring to remain on the export trading floor.

The cement industry suffered from recession in the construction sector over the past Iranian year. The manufacturers' attempts to remain active on the export trading floor comes as domestic producers can be blamed for decrease in prices, as many smaller producers who were not strong enough to enter big markets reduced their prices to be able to compete in the domestic market.

Experts believe when supply exceeds demand, it is the best time to be listed in the equity market so that equilibrium will be restored in the cement market. This way, cement prices will no longer be set imperatively.