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January 14, 2009

Indonesia's cement consumption up 11.5% in 2008

Indonesia's domestic cement consumption grew 11.5 percent in 2008 from a year earlier to 38.09 million tonnes, Reuters reported, citing data from the country's Cement Industry Association.

However, cement consumption for December edged 0.1 percent lower to 3.13 million tonnes as construction slowed ahead of year-end holidays and on weaker demand areas outside Java, the data showed.

Some analysts had said the strong cement sales growth in 2008 was largely supported by higher demand from commodity producing areas, supported by high commodity prices earlier in 2008.

Indonesia is home to some of the world's top miners and major producers of key commodities such as coal, palm oil, rubber, tin and cocoa.

PT Semen Gresik Tbk, the country's largest cement maker, saw a 3.7 percent rise in its domestic cement sales to 1.43 million tonnes but recorded a 42 percent drop in its exports, resulting in a 1 percent rise in its total sales volume to 1.47 million tonnes.

Both Gresik and its main rival, PT Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa Tbk, had said they expected Indonesia's cement demand would fall in 2009 because of tougher economic conditions and a slowdown in GDP growth.

Indonesia's economic growth is expected to slow to 5 percent in 2009 compared to estimated growth of 6.2 percent last year.

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