KARACHI: Cement sales rose 11 per cent year-on-year to 3.749 million tonnes in November thanks to a continued rise in local despatches. The figure suggests the cement industry achieved its highest-ever capacity utilisation of 98.6pc during the month.
Domestic sales of cement jumped 15pc to 3.27m tonnes during the month, according to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) on Monday. However, exports fell 10.4pc to 478,000 tonnes.
During the first five months (July-November) of this fiscal year, the industry despatched 16.251m tonnes of cement, up 9.9pc from 14.788m tonnes a year earlier.
Domestic sales increased 12pc to 13.709m tonnes while exports dropped 0.79pc to 2.542m tonnes during the July-November period.
Mills located in the northern part of the country despatched 11.305m tonnes for domestic consumption and 1.702m tonnes for exports, a growth of 11pc and 4.3pc, respectively. In contrast, domestic sales of mills based in the southern region rose by 17.5pc to 2.404m tonnes while their exports fell by 9.7pc to 0.839m tonnes.
Cement exports have been in decline since the beginning of this fiscal year. An APCMA spokesperson said exports are likely to remain under pressure as Iran has penetrated the Afghanistan market followed by falling exports by sea. However, exports to India are showing an uptrend.
Continued growth in domestic despatches was a healthy sign as it suggested that looming crisis in the property sector has not hit the construction activities, he said, adding that huge infrastructure projects undertaken by federal and provincial governments were the icing on the cake.
He said coal was a widely used fuel in producing cement and its increasing prices during the last few months have had a significant impact on input cost. Moreover, recent hike in oil prices has further increased the cost of cement production, he added.
He urged the government to cut taxes which would bring down cement prices, push up its demand, boost the industry’s capacity and create jobs.
courtesy: dawn news