Large-scale manufacturing sputters amid recovery as lockdowns recede

Published October 17, 2020
The production of tractors surges by over 21pc in August.
The production of tractors surges by over 21pc in August.

ISLAMABAD: Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) posted a paltry growth of 1.19 per cent from August last year, showed data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Friday, but fell by 6.78pc from July.

The data shows manufacturing returning to pre-Covid levels, but the recovery is struggling.

The big industry output grew by 3.66pc between July and August compared with the same period last year, reflecting a revival in economic activities.

In 2019-20, the LSM output fell 10.17pc on a yearly basis.

August sees return to pre-Covid levels, but falls from July

Sector-wise, production of 11 items under the Oil Companies Advisory Committee dipped by 5.36pc year-on-year during August, 36 items under the Ministry of Industries and Production went up by 2.33pc, while 65 reported by the provincial bureaus of statistics rose 0.15pc.

The LSM constitutes 80pc of the country’s total manufacturing and accounts for nearly 10.7pc of the national output. In comparison, the small-scale industry makes up for just 1.8pc of GDP and 13.7pc of the secondary sector.

As per the PBS data, the auto sector — with the exception of tractors, trucks and motorcycles — was the major laggard with massive declines in sales in August on account of multiple upward price revisions due to currency depreciation.

The sector saw production of tractors rising by 21.47pc, trucks 19.83pc and motorcycles 8.88pc during the month under review. On the other hand, output of buses 52.46pc, jeeps and cars 29.45, and LCVs 44.68pc.

The data for August showed output of petroleum products dipped by 5.36pc. Output of two major oil products — petrol and high-speed diesel mostly used in the transport sector and agriculture — was up 8.56pc and 5.91pc, respectively. LPG output edged up by 8.84pc, and Jute batching oil 118.46pc.

The production of furnace oil dipped by 10.42pc during the month under review, compared to same period previous year, and that of kerosene oil by 3.45pc.

Jet (airline) fuel output plunged 52.61pc, lubricating oil 38.55pc, and solvent naphtha 55.05pc.

Meanwhile, cigarette production soared by 21.79pc year-on-year in August, while that of cement went by 16.84pc.

In pharmaceutical, output of syrups up by 1.79pc, injection 24.25pc and capsules 8.65pc. The output of tablets declined by 8.83pc.

Tea and vegetable ghee production dipped 7.73pc and 1.67pc, respectively whereas that of cooking oil increased by 5.46pc.

At the same time, production of electronic goods contracted in August due to demand slowdown of items like refrigerators, deep freezers, air-conditioners, electric bulbs, tube, fans, motors, meters, switch gears, TV sets etc.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020

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