Demand for cement in developed countries continues to decline, but emerging markets, with growing demand, now account for "90% of the world’s cement output," according to The Economist. For the six cement giants that supply 40% of the world's needs -- Buzzi, Cemex, Heidelberg, Holcim, Italcementi and Lafarge -- that slump in demand has pushed them to start acquiring firms in emerging markets. However, demand may start to wane in those markets, too, and "[i]f so, the expected recovery in cement prices and profitability may not prove as durable as the material itself," says research firm Sanford C. Bernstein.

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