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.
The overall value of cement exports rose by an average 27.1% for all exporting countries since 2017 when cement shipments were valued at $10.1 billion.
Year over year, the value of globally exported cement increased by 12.3% compared to $11.45 billion during 2020.
The 5 biggest cement exporters in 2021 were Vietnam, Turkey, Germany, Canada and Thailand. Combined, that subgroup of major cement suppliers generated two-fifths (40.1%) of worldwide cement shipments by value.
By product category, Portland cement accounts for roughly three-fifths (59.6%) 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 about a third (33.4%) while miscellaneous hydraulic cements and aluminous cements came in at 5.2% and 1.7% respectively.
From a continental perspective, Asian countries sold the most exported cement during 2021 with shipments valued at $6.6 billion or 51.5% of global cement exports. In second place were European exporters at 26.9% while 12.1% of worldwide cement shipments originated from Africa. Another 6.9% worth were shipped from North America.
Smaller percentages came from Latin America (2.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.1%) led by New Zealand and Fiji.
For research purposes, the four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for cement materials is 2523.
Cement Exports by Country
Below are the 25 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of cement during 2021.
- Vietnam: US$2.1 billion (16.7% of total cement exports)
- Turkey: $1.4 billion (10.6%)
- Germany: $610.4 million (4.7%)
- Canada: $535.3 million (4.2%)
- Thailand: $501.9 million (3.9%)
- Spain: $429.5 million (3.3%)
- Indonesia: $407.4 million (3.2%)
- Egypt: $393.8 million (3.1%)
- Japan: $382.4 million (3%)
- Belgium: $292.4 million (2.3%)
- Pakistan: $271.5 million (2.1%)
- Saudi Arabia: $245.7 million (1.9%)
- Greece: $205.2 million (1.6%)
- Ireland: $200.4 million (1.6%)
- Slovakia: $196.8 million (1.5%)
- United Arab Emirates: $195.6 million (1.5%)
- South Korea: $190.8 million (1.5%)
- Croatia: $186.6 million (1.5%)
- Mexico: $178.8 million (1.4%)
- United States: $173.2 million (1.3%)
- Italy: $172.3 million (1.3%)
- Algeria: $169.6 million (1.3%)
- China: $166.5 million (1.3%)
- Senegal: $155.5 million (1.2%)
- Zambia: $140.9 million (1.1%)
By value, the listed 25 countries shipped 77.1% of global cement exported in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing cement exporters since 2020 were: Egypt (up 189.4%), Algeria (up 131.3%), Vietnam (up 58.9%) and Saudi Arabia (up 27.8%).
There were a half dozen top decliners namely the United Arab Emirates (down -59.2%), mainland China (down -24.5%), Thailand (down -8.5%), Ireland (down -8%), South Korea (down -6.8%) and Mexico (down -0.2%).
Countries Generating Largest Trade Surpluses from Cement
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for cement during 2021. 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$2.1 billion (net export surplus up 60.9% since 2020)
- Turkey: $1.4 billion (up 12.5%)
- Thailand: $436.6 million (down -10.5%)
- Germany: $424.1 million (up 27.7%)
- Indonesia: $403.2 million (up 26.4%)
- Egypt: $391.2 million (up 197.8%)
- Canada: $361.8 million (down -3.9%)
- Japan: $346.9 million (up 4.6%)
- Spain: $327.8 million (up 15.4%)
- Pakistan: $266.6 million (up 5.4%)
- Saudi Arabia: $230.5 million (up 29.3%)
- United Arab Emirates: $184.5 million (down -59.6%)
- Greece: $176 million (up 10.1%)
- Ireland: $169.8 million (down -15.4%)
- Algeria: $167 million (up 135.2%)
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.
Countries Facing Worst Trade Deficits from Cement
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for cement during 2021. 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$1.7 billion (net export deficit up 28.9% since 2020)
- China: -$1.3 billion (down -1.2%)
- Philippines: -$605.5 million (up 27.1%)
- France: -$520.8 million (up 64%)
- Bangladesh: -$374 million (down -29.4%)
- Israel: -$341.3 million (up 16.7%)
- Netherlands: -$286.1 million (up 2.9%)
- Singapore: -$230.9 million (up 61.7%)
- Hong Kong: -$209.2 million (up 2.3%)
- Australia: -$208.7 million (up 14.5%)
- Ivory Coast: -$181.9 million (up 10.1%)
- Sri Lanka: -$165.8 million (down -47.4%)
- Mali: -$157 million (up 5.6%)
- Burkina Faso: -$155.2 million (up 10.2%)
- Libya: -$150.3 million (up 47.9%)
The United States of America and mainland China incurred the highest deficits in the international trade of cement. In turn, these negative cashflows highlight both economic powerhouses’ strong competitive disadvantages 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, China’s Top Trading Partners, Turkey’s Top Trading Partners and Thailand’s Top 25 Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on July 13, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 13, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 13, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 13, 2022