Cement sales plunge as construction comes to a halt

Updated 07 May 2020

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IMF on Wednesday asked countries to use the pandemic as an opportunity to invest in public infrastructure and other projects that take advantage of low interest rates.
IMF on Wednesday asked countries to use the pandemic as an opportunity to invest in public infrastructure and other projects that take advantage of low interest rates.

KARACHI: Cement despatches in April declined 24 per cent to 4.61 million tonnes as exports and domestic offtake fell amid the economic slowdown caused by coronavirus.

The decline in domestic consumption was witnessed both in the north and south zones of the country as it fell 19pc to 3.271m tonnes in April from 4.037m tonnes in the same month last year.

Domestic despatches from the mills in southern region fell 50pc from 0.683m tonnes in April 2019 to only 0.342m tonnes last month whereas the mills based in north despatched only 2.928m tonnes domestically in April, down by 13pc from 3.353m tonnes in same month last year.

Total exports fell from 574,026 tonnes in April 2019 to mere 249,127 tonnes last month, down by 56.6pc.

Mills based in southern zone exported just 1,609 tonnes in April

During the month, exports from the southern zone plunged by 28pc to 247,519 tonnes from 343,611 tonnes in April 2019. The situation was even more dismal for the mills situated in north as exports in April were negligible at 1,609 tonnes, falling 99.3pc from 230,415 tonnes in April last year.

Total despatches in 10MFY20 inched up by 3.45pc to 40.55m tonnes as compared to 39.20m tonnes during the same period last year, mainly on the strength of better performance in pre-pandemic months.

Domestic despatches from north rose by 9pc to 28.941m tonnes during July to April FY20 from 26.561m tonnes in July-April FY19.

Mills in south faced 29.11pc fall in local despatches from 6.936m tonnes in first 10 months of the last fiscal to 4.917m tonnes this fiscal year.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2020