Rising cement prices were offering a clear signal that China's economic growth will remain stable for the year ahead, said Mo Ji, chief economist for Asia ex-Japan at Amundi, on Wednesday.
She noted that cement offered a more accurate gauge of China's economic activity given its short shelf life. In contrast, commodities such as iron ore which are closely tracked to predict China's economic fortunes can also move due to financial arbitrage, not just changes in demand and supply conditions.
"It can only be stored one month. If there is no on-the-ground activity, how can the cement prices go up? It's really demand," she said, adding that meant infrastructure and other construction was continuing.
Amundi had around 1.0 trillion euros ($1.068 trillion) under management as of the end of September.
China's spot cement price was around 272 yuan ($39.61) a ton by mid-January, compared with an average regional price of as low as 206 yuan a ton in the first quarter of 2016, according to data from Credit Suisse.
Among other commodities, iron ore saw its price more than double in 2016 to around $80 a metric ton, despite China's port stocks climbing to a two-year high, although the government of Australia, a major exporter of the metal, said in early January that it expected prices to fall as much as a third this year.