Global sales from cement exports by country amounted to US$10.2 billion in 2019. 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.
Overall, the value of cement exports fell by an average -6.6% for all exporting countries since 2015 when cement shipments were valued at $11 billion. From 2018 to 2019, exported cement sales dropped -11.5%.
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.
From a continental perspective, Asian countries sold the most exported cement during 2019 with shipments valued at $5.3 billion or 51.5% of global cement exports. In second place were European exporters at 31.8% while 8.4% of worldwide cement shipments originated from North America.
Smaller percentages came from Africa (6.3%), Latin America (1.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.1%) led by New Zealand and Australia.
For research purposes, the four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for cement materials is 2523.
Cement Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of cement during 2019.
- Vietnam: US$1.4 billion (13.2% of total cement exports)
- Turkey: $876.5 million (8.6%)
- Thailand: $677.4 million (6.6%)
- Canada: $542.8 million (5.3%)
- Germany: $542.1 million (5.3%)
- Spain: $374.9 million (3.7%)
- China: $347.3 million (3.4%)
- Japan: $341.1 million (3.3%)
- South Korea: $256.8 million (2.5%)
- Saudi Arabia: $243.4 million (2.4%)
- Belgium: $240.6 million (2.4%)
- Ireland: $221 million (2.2%)
- Greece: $220.3 million (2.2%)
- United States: $169.8 million (1.7%)
- Indonesia: $167.8 million (1.6%)
The listed 15 countries shipped 64.3% of global cement exported in 2019 by value.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing cement exporters since 2015 were: Saudi Arabia (up 538.7%), Indonesia (up 166.6%), Vietnam (up 103%) and Turkey (up 59.5%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exported cement sales were led by: China (down -55.3%), United States (down -31.9%), Spain (down -23.7%), Japan (down -13.8%) and Greece (down -12%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for cement during 2019. 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$1.3 billion (net export surplus up 104.3% since 2015)
- Turkey: $869.6 million (up 63.3%)
- Thailand: $597.7 million (down -8.1%)
- Canada: $419.7 million (up 107.3%)
- Germany: $371.5 million (up 11%)
- Japan: $307.4 million (down -13.5%)
- Spain: $303.5 million (down -32.5%)
- Saudi Arabia: $223.2 million (reversing a -$45.7 million deficit)
- South Korea: $218.4 million (up 5.2%)
- Ireland: $205.5 million (up 51.2%)
- Greece: $199 million (down -16.6%)
- Indonesia: $165.6 million (reversing a -$128.8 million deficit)
- United Arab Emirates: $125.6 million (down -59.8%)
- Mexico: $124.5 million (up 66.8%)
- Croatia: $113 million (down -8.6%)
Vietnam generated 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 2019. 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 80.5% since 2015)
- China: -$807.2 million (reversing a $758.9 million surplus)
- Philippines: -$542.1 million (up 215.8%)
- France: -$302 million (up 29.5%)
- Bangladesh: -$251.9 million (down -66.5%)
- Israel: -$232.8 million (up 53.9%)
- Netherlands: -$229.2 million (up 110.9%)
- Singapore: -$211.5 million (down -37.6%)
- Australia: -$206.6 million (up 29.6%)
- Cambodia: -$170.6 million (up 55.7%)
- Hong Kong: -$161.4 million (up 0%)
- Chile: -$123.5 million (down -3.8%)
- Uzbekistan: -$123.3 million (no 2015 data)
- Mali: -$122.4 million (no 2015 data)
- Myanmar (Burma): -$107.9 million (down -68.1%)
The United States of America 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
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on May 15, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 15, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 15, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 15, 2020