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UAE's JK White Cement grows as US-China trade war hits global market

Indian cement-maker plans UAE heritage-preservation programme as world producers grapple with reduced appetite

JK White Cement has a production plant in Fujairah.
© JK White Cement
JK White Cement has a production plant in Fujairah.

Global cement demand is expected to be sluggish in 2019 in light of escalating trade tension between the US and China, and economic challenges that are impacting the worldwide construction market even a decade after the global financial crisis of 2008-09, according to a report by World Cement Association (WCA).

WCA projected that global demand for cement would grow by 1.5% in 2019, maintaining a low rate mainly due to an appetite reduction from the world’s most populated country, China. However, even after excluding the impact of China's demand cuts, global cement demand growth is pegged at 2.8% in 2019.

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) the global gross domestic product is predicted to rise by 3.5% in 2019, down from 3.7% in 2018 and 3.6% in 2020.

Rising trade tensions between US and China have posed a major risk to the global economy, and the same vulnerability is reflected in the cement market.

WCA projects that the US cement market will experience moderate growth in 2019, but demand volumes will still be 3% lower than 2018 figures. 

On the other hand, China’s cement market – representing more than 50% of global demand – will be stationary in 2019.

Despite the global demand plunge predictions, emerging markets such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh will display solid cement demand in 2019.

WCA’s latest member from India, JK Cement, joined the organisation in September 2018, and significantly contributes to India's cement output. India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry expects its national cement production to hit 499 million tonnes (t) by 2020.

According to WCA, JK Cement is one of India's top two white cement producers.

Subsidiary JK White Cement has a production plant in Fujairah, which was launched in 2014 with an annual capacity of 600,000 metric tons. 

As part of an initiative to contribute to the UAE's heritage architecture-preservation efforts, JK White Cement recently launched a mural painting competition.

With cash prizes of up to $11,000, the competition will attract four-strong teams of students from the UAE's Abu Dhabi University, Ajman University in Fujairah, American University in Dubai, American University of Sharjah, UAE University, and University of Sharjah. 

As part of the competition, students will be required to submit artwork concepts for the silos of JK White Cement's Fujairah plant. Concept entries must reflect the UAE's architectural heritage, and will be judged by a panel comprising architects and engineering experts. 

The competition's winners will be announced in April 2019 at a ceremony in Dubai, JK White Cement told Construction Week.

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Construction Week - Issue 749
Sep 15, 2019