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South African Cement Sales Rose First Year in Four in 2011

South African cement sales rose for the first time in four years in 2011.

Sales climbed 3.2 percent to 11.2 million metric tons last year compared with 2010, when they fell 7.8 percent, the Johannesburg-based Cement & Concrete Institute said in an e-mailed statement today. Sales retreated 1.8 percent to 732,961 tons in December from a year earlier, it said.

The Reserve Bank has kept its benchmark rate at a 30-year low since January 2011 as it seeks to stave off the impact of a possible recession in Europe because of a deepening debt crisis.

“A long-term recovery in South African cement demand is long overdue and latest industry trends indicate that further decline is unlikely,” Pretoria Portland Cement Co., South Africa’s biggest maker of the building material, said in a statement on Nov. 8.

Pretoria Portland Cement’s shares declined 22 percent last year. The stock fell 0.4 percent to 26.95 rand by 4:06 p.m. in Johannesburg.

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