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China's cement industry sets, as investment falls

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BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Investment in China's cement industry dropped 8.3 percent year-on-year to 143.9 billion yuan (22.85 U.S. dollars) in 2011, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Monday.

It was the first such drop in five years amid the government's suppressive policies to curb the industry's overcapacity, the MIIT said in a statement on its website.

The growth figure was 40.2 percentage points lower than the average level of the building material industry, the MIIT said.

The investment made in eastern regions fell 13.5 percent year-on-year to 38.1 billion yuan in 2011, while western and central regions invested 60.7 billion yuan and 45.1 billion yuan, down 8.1 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, it said.

MIIT data showed that the cement industry's output rose 11.7 percent to 2.09 billion tonnes in 2011.

The MIIT expected the output growth to drop under 10 percent this year.

The government has been stepping up the shutdown of outdated production facilities, which have been blamed for pollution and holding back industrial upgrading.

It aims to eliminate 250 million tonnes of outdated production capacity in the cement industry in the 2011-2015 period, according to a five-year plan released by the MIIT last November.

To phase out backward productivity, the plan set higher emission control standards, asking cement producers to cut emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide by 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, during the period.

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