The cement sector continued to grow in January as its total sales increased to 4.074 million tons, an increase of 11.26 percent as compared with 3.662 million tons during the same month last year.
According to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers’ Association (APCMA), domestic consumption increased by 5.95 percent to 3.265 million tons in January 2020 as compared with 3.082 million tons in January 2019.
The exports registered an impressive increase of 39.49 percent from 0.579 million tons in January 2019 to 0.808 million tons in January 2020. Mainly, the exports are led by mills based in the South. Exports from south surged by 70.84 percent to 0.623 million tons from 0.364 million tons in January 2019.
North-based mills sold 2.684 million tons locally which was 11.32 percent higher than 2.371 million tons despatched during the corresponding month of last fiscal.
However, in exports, the North based mills continued to show a decline, falling 13.55 percent to 0.186 million tons in January 2020 as compared with 0.215 million tons in January 2019.
It was the other way around in the Southern region where the domestic consumption declined appreciably by 18.23 percent from 0.711 million tons in January 2019 to 0.581 million tons in January 2020.
In the first seven months of this fiscal year, cement sales in the country increased 7.15 percent to 28.824 million tons against 26.900 million tons sold during last year. The domestic consumption registered an increase of only 3.86 percent to 23.638 million tons from 22.759 million tons in the same period last year while exports increased 25.23 percent to 5.186 million tons from 4.141 million tons.
The phenomenon of cement exports being higher than local sales continues for southern mills as the local despatches have sharply declined in the region by 26.05 percent from 4.798 million tons in the first seven months of last fiscal to 3.548 million tons during the same period.
A bright spot for the industry is growth in exports from the south which surged by 46.18 percent to 3.579 million tons during the period under review from 2.448 million tons same period last year.
Northern mills sold 20.090 million tons locally during the first seven months of current fiscal that was 11.85 percent higher than despatches of 17.960 million tons during the corresponding months of last fiscal.
Exports for northern mills suffered a decline of 5.08 percent with exports of 1.606 million tons in January 2020 compared with exports of 1.692 million tons in January 2019.
“Though the less than expected and nominal increase in the cement despatches and continuous decline in local despatches from South is worrisome for the industry, the increase in exports depicts the competitiveness of our cement industry that has delivered in line with the decline in rupee value,” said APCMA’s spokesman.