Spain: Oficemen, the Spanish cement industry association, has joined other voices in the construction sector to advocate for the continuation of construction works, including infrastructure projects, during the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, "The closure of the works is not obligatory, as this activity has not been expressly suspended." However, increasing numbers of local authorities are stopping them, including those in Barcelona, which has ordered the closure of all building work in the city, both public and private.
Oficemen's president, Víctor García Brossa, argued, "Once the service sector is paralysed, construction becomes one of the main pillars of the Spanish economy" asserting that its work is "of the utmost importance… to prepare our country for the way out of this crisis." Regardless of whether works can officially continue or not, García Brossa has confirmed that the current situation predicts a ‘sharp short-term drop’ in cement consumption.
In February 2020, cement consumption in Spain fell by 0.5% year-on-year to 1.17Mt, about 5500t less than in February 2019, according to Oficemen’s latest data. This represented the fourth consecutive month of falls, although in year-on-year terms (from March 2019 to February 2020) consumption increased by 3.9%.
Exports continued their dire performance, falling for the 33rd consecutive month. A decrease of 31.4% month-on-month was seen in February 2020, which was down by 24.2% year-on-year compared to February 2019.