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Domestic demand: Cement sales shoot up 15.88% in October

ISLAMABAD: Sales of cement in the domestic market accelerated 15.88% in October 2016 after a modest growth of only 2% in September. Exports, however, declined by 1.96% as opposed to a robust growth of 11.79% in September.

According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), in the first four months of the current financial year, the cement industry posted a growth of 11.26% in local sales compared to the same period of previous year.

Exports recorded a growth of 1.73% in July-October 2016 compared with the same period of last year. Overall sales during the first four months recorded a 9.57% growth.

The APCMA spokesman said domestic sales in October 2016 were 3.008 million tons, up 15.88% from the previous month, while exports stood at 0.518 million tons, reflecting a negative growth of 1.96%.

Total sales in October were 3.527 million tons, higher by 12.87%. Capacity utilisation in the month was recorded at 92.77%.

Exports to neighbours

During October, exports to Afghanistan decreased to 0.193 million tons from 0.252 million tons in October 2015, down 23.4%.

However, exports to India registered a healthy increase from 0.086 million tons in October last year to 0.110 million tons in the same month this year, a rise of 27%.

The association spokesman expressed concern over the falling exports to Afghanistan that dropped 11.74% in the first four months. He said exports to India surged 101.88% during July-October 2016 from a very low base.

“However, chances of exports to India are not bright due to tensions between the two countries.”

He was concerned over the sharp rise in coal prices, impacting the cement production cost. “Coal price, which was $54 in May 2016, has increased to $105.”

Cement manufacturers have appealed to the government to take steps to boost the housing sector as currently the cement industry mostly depends on infrastructure projects.

They said a sustained growth in housing construction was essential to absorb the additional capacity that would come on stream in the next two years. They urged the government to avoid disruptive policies that impact the growth in construction activity.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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