Positive volume trends in Asia; challenges in China

Ian Thackwray, Region Head Asia Pacific (photo)

Ian Thackwray
Region Head Asia Pacific

Performance in Asia Pacific was impacted by declining results in China and limited growth in India. At the same time countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka contributed positively to the results in 2015. While volumes increased in both cement and aggregates, negative currency effects coupled with lower financial performance in China and Indonesia affected the Group region’s operating EBITDA. Overall performance improved in the fourth quarter.

Economic and construction industry development

In 2015, economic growth in Asia Pacific continued to outperform the rest of the global economy despite the modest downward adjustment during the course of the year. Nonetheless, inflation remained stable while strong labor markets and growth in disposable income stimulated confidence.

China’s reorientation toward consumption and services has caused some uncertainty about Asia Pacific’s largest economy in the year under review. Manufacturing output shrank and Beijing’s stock market experienced a turbulent year. As the real estate market declined, the state continued to push major infrastructure projects throughout the country in the form of economic belts and urban development.

In 2015 India was firmly on course to becoming the world’s fastest growing large economy. Robust domestic demand and a revival in confidence was supported by a stable political establishment. However, construction markets remained depressed due to the impact of lower government spending, reduced demand from real estate and construction projects, and slow recovery in infrastructure spending.

In Southeast Asia, Malaysia continued to feel the effects of low oil prices and a weakened currency. Vietnam experienced steady economic growth throughout the year, while the Philippines capitalized on strong underlying growth that drove lively activity in the construction markets. A year of poor economic performance in Indonesia led to government pledges for economic and infrastructure reforms, which have been slow to materialize.

Australia continued to deal with the decline of the resource sector. Positive momentum developed in the infrastructure segment, especially in New South Wales. New Zealand’s economic activity meanwhile continued to build on the back of earthquake reconstruction efforts, a growing tourism industry and an expanded trade network through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Business review – Asia Pacific (map)Business review – Asia Pacific (map)