The 7.8% year-on-year (y/y) rise in cement sales volume in the first half of 2015 suggests a booming construction sector.
This is because cement-intensive infrastructure projects such as the new Eskom power stations and dams are gaining traction.
The construction sector is a large employer and was the single largest contributor to the 563‚000 jobs created in the 12 months to the second quarter 2015 by the total economy with a 219‚000 rise in construction jobs to 1.182-million.
The cement data show that some sectors of the South African economy are coping with load shedding‚ but this has not come through in terms of general public perception. This is in part due to the long data lag on cement sales data imposed by the Competition Commission‚ so the good news in terms of the first quarter’s 15.6% y/y surge in cement sales was only available in the third quarter.
Prior to April 2012‚ cement sales data were released on a monthly basis a few days after month-end‚ but the Competition Commission then ruled that the cement data could only be released on a quarterly basis after a minimum of 90 days. That meant that economists only knew the effect of the Marikana tragedy on cement sales in 2013‚ whereas previously they would have had September 2012 data in the first few days of October 2012.
In the event‚ cement sales fell by 3.8% y/y in the third quarter 2012 after a 7.0% y/y rise in the second quarter 2012. Cement sales signalled the poor economic performance in 2014 as volumes fell by 0.8% after a 5.3% gain in 2013.
The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission has identified and developed projects and infrastructure initiatives from state-owned enterprises as well as national‚ provincial and local government departments. These have been clustered‚ sequenced and prioritised into a pipeline of strategic integrated projects.