Global sales from cement exports by country totaled US$10.1 billion in 2018. An essential construction material, cement is typically sold in the form of grey or white powder or “clinker” lumps and modules fused together with limestone and alumino-silicates like clay.
By category, Portland cement accounts for about two-thirds of exported global cement supplies. That metric should come as no surprise given that Portland is the cement type used for making concrete, mortar, stucco and grout. Cement clinkers represented around a quarter while miscellaneous hydraulic cements and aluminous cements came in at 5% and 3% respectively.
Overall, the value of cement exports fell by an average -20.2% for all exporting countries since 2014 when cement shipments were valued at $12.7 billion. Year over year, exported cement sales increased by 1.2% from 2017 to 2018.
From a continental perspective, Asian countries sold the most exported cement during 2018 with shipments valued at $5 billion or 49.1% of global cement exports. In second place were European exporters at 32.9% while 8.8% of worldwide cement shipments originated from North America.
Smaller percentages came from Africa (7.1%), Latin America (1.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.2%) led by Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
The four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for cement materials is 2523.
Cement Exports by Country
Below are the 20 countries that sold the most exported cement during 2018.
- Vietnam: US$1.1 billion (11.1% of total cement exports)
- Thailand: $633.8 million (6.3%)
- Turkey: $614.4 million (6.1%)
- Germany: $541.6 million (5.3%)
- Canada: $536.6 million (5.3%)
- China: $491.7 million (4.8%)
- Spain: $437.8 million (4.3%)
- Japan: $327.1 million (3.2%)
- India: $295.8 million (2.9%)
- Pakistan: $264.4 million (2.6%)
- Indonesia: $237.8 million (2.3%)
- Greece: $226.9 million (2.2%)
- South Korea: $190.5 million (1.9%)
- Mexico: $183.8 million (1.8%)
- Ireland: $178.2 million (1.8%)
- United States: $172.8 million (1.7%)
- Belgium: $169.7 million (1.7%)
- Italy: $166.7 million (1.6%)
- Croatia: $162.5 million (1.6%)
- Slovakia: $145.6 million (1.4%)
By value, the listed 20 countries shipped over two-thirds (70.1%) of global exports in 2018.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing cement exporters since 2014 were: Indonesia (up 534.7%), Canada (up 77.5%), Vietnam (up 23.3%) and Ireland (up 20.7%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exported cement sales were led by: Pakistan (down -48.8%), South Korea (down -48.1%), China (down -36.3%), United States (down -35.4%) and Belgium (down -25.9%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for cement during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s cement exports and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Vietnam: US$1.1 billion (net export surplus up 22.8% since 2014)
- Turkey: $607.6 million (down -2.9%)
- Thailand: $566.6 million (down -12.7%)
- Canada: $412 million (up 289%)
- Spain: $393.2 million (down -22.1%)
- Germany: $330.1 million (down -11.5%)
- Japan: $291.6 million (down -4.4%)
- Pakistan: $251.7 million (down -50.1%)
- Indonesia: $234.3 million (reversing a -$212.1 million deficit)
- Greece: $207.1 million (down -22.3%)
- Ireland: $159.8 million (up 17.7%)
- Mexico: $154.6 million (up 22%)
- India: $148.9 million (down -30.1%)
- South Korea: $147.7 million (down -51.9%)
- Egypt: $129.2 million (reversing a -$238.1 million deficit)
Vietnam has the highest surplus in the international trade of cement. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Vietnam’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for cement during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s cement import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- United States: -US$1.2 billion (net export deficit up 157.5% since 2014)
- Philippines: -$538.4 million (up 416.1%)
- Bangladesh: -$319.4 million (no 2014 data)
- Ghana: -$318.9 million (no 2014 data)
- Hong Kong: -$302 million (up 87.1%)
- France: -$289.1 million (down -5.2%)
- Netherlands: -$268.8 million (up 177.8%)
- Israel: -$235.3 million (up 68.2%)
- Sri Lanka: -$228.5 million (down -55.3%)
- Australia: -$201.2 million (up 24.7%)
- Singapore: -$191.5 million (down -45.8%)
- Ivory Coast: -$164.6 million (up 60.9%)
- China: -$160.4 million (reversing a $746.2 million surplus)
- Nepal: -$142.8 million (up 36.4%)
- Uzbekistan: -$132.6 million (up 1109.2%)
United States incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of cement. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights America’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for cement-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.
Top Cement Exporting Companies
According to the Global Cement Directory 2013, the following cement exporting companies lead the world in cement production capacity:
- Anhui Conch (China)
- Lafarge (France)
- Holcim (Switzerland)
- CNBM (China)
- HeidelbergCement (Germany)
- Italcementi (Italy)
- Cemex (Mexico)
- Taiwan Cement Corp (Taiwan)
- China Resources (China)
- Sinoma (China)
The above corporations are presented in the same order as they appear in Global Cement’s listing, which shows that the People’s Republic is home to four of the 10 largest cement-producing companies.
See also Cement Imports by Country, Paper Exports by Country and China’s Top Trading Partners
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 15, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 15, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 15, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 15, 2019