KARACHI: Cement sales jumped seven per cent year-on-year to 4.82 million tonnes in November, according to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association on Monday.

Despite an increase in the commodity’s price, domestic sales grew 10.2pc to 4.124m tonnes during the month amid an improvement in construction activity. However, exports fell 9.2pc to 695,779 tonnes from 766,273 tonnes a year ago.

North-based mills despatched 3.469m tonnes in the domestic markets as against 3.129m tonnes in November last year, showing a rise of 11pc. However, cement exports from these mills plummeted 70pc to 55,234 tonnes in November from 182,091 tonnes in the same month last year.

Domestic despatches go up amid increased construction activity, while exports suffer due to higher freight rates

Mills based in the southern region sold 654,983 tonnes in the local market during November, an increase of 7pc compared to 613,113 tonnes a year ago. Exports from the southern mills went up by 9.65pc to 640,545 tonnes in November from 584,182 tonnes during the same month last year.

Five-month sales

In the first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year, overall cement sales dropped 4pc year-on-year to 22.86m tonnes.

Domestic despatches grew 3pc to 20m tonnes during the five-month period compared to 19.455m tonnes a year ago, whereas exports plunged 35pc to 2.853m tonnes from 4.384m a year ago. Despatches from the north-based mills amounted to 16.785m tonnes domestically during the period, a marginal increase of 0.17pc on a year-on-year basis. Exports from these mills nearly halved to 516,003 tonnes during July-November compared to 1.087m tonnes in the year-ago period.

Domestic despatches by mills based in the southern region stood at 3.22m tonnes, showing a rise of 19.4pc compared to 2.698m tonnes during the five-month period a year ago. In contrast, exports from these mills dropped sharply by 29pc to 2.337m tonnes during the period under review.

Mehroz Khan of Topline Securities said domestic cement sales in November went up amid increased construction activity and post-Covid economic recovery, while exports suffered because of higher freight rates.

He said the retail price of cement in November averaged at Rs734 per 50kg bag in the northern region, an increase of 4pc compared to October. In the southern region, the average retail price jumped by Rs29 per bag to Rs749.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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