Uptick in cement sales

Updated November 03, 2019

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Industry experts believe the start of construction work on the government housing projects will not only boost demand for cement, but also create employment opportunities.
Industry experts believe the start of construction work on the government housing projects will not only boost demand for cement, but also create employment opportunities.

KARACHI: Local cement despatches during the July-October period of this fiscal year rose by 2.3 per cent to 13.312 million tonnes while exports grew by 16.48pc to 2.8m tonnes as compared to same period last year.

As a result, total cement despatches — local and exports — stood at 16.117m tonnes, up by 4.53pc compared to same period last fiscal year.

Mills in country’s northern region despatched 11.451m tonnes to the domestic market, up 11.14pc from 10.304m tonnes during the corresponding period.

Moreover, sales in the southern region clocked in at 1.86m tonnes during the period under review, showing a decline of 31.27pc.

Exports from north, during the four months, clocked in at 0.954m tonnes; down 5.64pc from 1.01m tonnes during the same period last year. However, in view of the loss of Indian market, the declines were less sharp than the market expectations.

Exports from the southern region almost matched the domestic consumption as the region exported 1.851m tonnes during July-Oct period, showing a growth of 32.5pc from 1.397m tonnes in the corresponding period last year.

All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) spokesperson said for the first time, two cement producing centers of the country are depicting opposite trends in domestic sales.

In the last fiscal year, domestic uptake was stronger in the south while this year, northern zone has the bigger lead.

He said this trend is a sigh of relief but subdued consumption in south is still a major concern.

Commencement of work on the government housing projects will have a positive impact on the uptake of cement in both regions and other construction materials, creating employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour.

He urged the government to minimise duties and taxes on cement sector in order to increase consumption.

In October, cement sector had reported 9.19pc increase in despatches to 4.984m tonnes – an all-time record for a month’s despatches, as compared to 4.564m tonnes in October 2018.

North zone registered a jump of 16pc in local despatches in October with 3.605m tonnes from 3.1m tonnes last year.

Domestic cement sales in the southern region remained low in October with just 0.591m tonnes, down by an alarming 29.41pc from 0.837m tonnes in October 2018.

The exports continued the growth trend with 28pc rise from 0.616m tonnes in October 2018 to 0.788m tonnes in October. The growth in export was exclusively from south, as despatches from the region rose by 48.75pc from 0.352m tonnes in October 2018 to 0.591m tonnes last month, while exports from north grew nominally from 0.264m tonnes to 0.265m.

Clinker export to Qatar

Attock Cement Pakistan Ltd (ACPL) will export 55,000 tonnes of clinker to Qatar. A ship Jabel Shams has arrived at the Karachi Port to start loading of clinker from Monday, a company official said.

“It is first time in the country’s history that Pakistani clinker will find its way to Qatar,” he claimed. He said the total value of the shipment is around $1.5 million.

Pakistan had exported 2.147 million tonnes of clinker to various countries in FY19.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2019