Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cement Production: China and Elsewhere

This chart shows cement production in China and around the rest of the world (data from the USGS).  Cement is essentially the active agreement in concrete, combined in roughly fixed proportions with sand and gravel.  Thus cement production is an approximate proxy for overall construction activity.

China is now making more than half the world's cement and production increased by a factor of 5 from 1994 to last year.  There is evidence of a slowdown last year (though not as sharp as in 2008) and it will be interesting to see what the 2012 numbers show when they come out.

Here is the same thing as a line graph:

Cement production in the rest of the world peaked in 2008 and has declined slightly since the financial crisis.  Nowhere else is going through a process anything like China.


Bjorn said...

In many ways the developments in China have similarities with the housing boom in Sweden during the late sixties and early seventies. During that time the government but up a goal of building one million new housing units in ten years to solve severe lack of housing (today these buildings account for 25% of total). The project actually was fulfilled but to a great cost. The buildings have a lot of technical problems and were planned and design to fast with little though of the users. The result after ten years was a lot of empty houses and a collapse of the building industry. Still today only a fraction of new houses are being built compare to those years.

When traveling and working in China I have a feeling that we soon will see a similar abrupt end. A lot of project seems to slow down and it seems that many Chinese cities already have a quite large floor area per person. The statistic is a bit murky but some number show that the space exceeding Korea and Japan.

A lot of steel and concrete is of course going to infrastructure projects, and even that national highway and rail systems is quite developed today, most of the rural systems still have a low standard.

yvesT said...

Amazing ...