KARACHI: The local industry despatched 7.15 million tonnes of cement in July-August, up 21 per cent from the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.
The domestic consumption increased 28pc during this period, although cement exports fell 14pc.
Cement consumed in the north region was up 28.5pc year-on-year while the increase recorded in the south region was 25.4pc. In contrast, exports from the north region declined 2.47pc compared to a fall of 25.4pc from the south region.
A spokesperson for the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said this should be a matter of concern for the authorities because south-based factories would lead exports in the past because of their proximity to the sea.
He said a constant decline in cement exports was worrisome. He said the decline in exports was in line with the overall drop in non-textile exports, which indicated a lack of competitiveness within the manufacturing sector. He said this called for a review of government policies, regulations and taxation for all non-textile export sectors.
However, exports to Afghanistan in July-August improved 21.41pc. The increase was meagre compared to a 22pc fall in exports to India in July-August. Cement exports to other countries dropped 37.53pc over the same period.
The APCMA spokesperson said the buoyancy in the domestic cement market continued unabated in August. Local sales went up 11pc in August year-on-year. Exports nosedived by 26.47pc, reducing overall sales growth to 5pc.
Despatches in August were 3.76m tonnes compared to 3.58m a year ago. Domestic despatches in the north region were 2.73m tonnes last month against 2.49m tonnes in August 2016. Despatches in the south region were 0.62m tonnes in August against 0.53m tonnes in the same month of the preceding year.
Exports from the north region were 0.31m tonnes last month against 0.35m tonnes a year ago. Exports from the south region stood at 0.1m tonnes in August against 0.2m tonnes from the same month of 2016.
The APCMA spokesperson said capacity utilisation in August was 96pc as domestic cement despatches were on the rise.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017