The cement sector posted a significant growth of 16.28% in its sales during January 2021 compared to the same month of previous year.
According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) on Tuesday, total cement dispatches stood at 4.73 million tons in January 2021 against 4.07 million tons in the same month of previous fiscal year.
Domestic cement offtake rose 23.67% to 4.03 million tons in January 2021 compared to 3.26 million tons in January 2020. On the flip side, exports registered a decline of 14.09%, dropping to 694,934 tons in January 2021 from 808,874 tons in January 2020.
North-based mills sold 3.31 million tons of cement in the domestic market, up 23.48% compared to dispatches of 2.68 million tons in the corresponding month of last year.
Exports from the northern region came in at 233,404 tons in January, which were 25.36% higher than exports of 186,185 tons in January 2020.
In the southern region, domestic cement consumption rose 24.59% from 581,316 tons in January 2020 to 724,281 tons in January 2021. Exports, however, decreased 25.88% to 461,530 tons from 622,689 tons in the same month of last year.
In the first seven months (Jul-Jan) of current fiscal year, total cement dispatches (domestic and export) came in at 33.36 million tons, up 15.77% than the dispatches in the corresponding period of previous fiscal year.
Domestic consumption rose 16.98% during the seven-month period to 27.65 million tons from 23.63 million tons in the same period of last year. Exports surged 10.23% to 5.71 million tons from 5.186 million tons in the same period of last year.
In the seven months, north-based mills sold 23.54 million tons of cement for domestic consumption, which was 17.18% higher compared to the dispatches in the same period of last fiscal year, which stood at 20.09 million tons.
Exports from the north stood at 1.44 million tons, a reduction of 10.09% from 1.61 million tons in the same period of last fiscal year. South-based mills dispatched 4.11 million tons to the domestic market in Jul-Jan FY21, up 15.86% than the 3.54 million tons sold in the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Exports from the south registered an increase of 19.35% to 4.27 million tons against exports of 3.57 million tons recorded in the same period of last year.
A spokesman for the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association said though cement sales touched a historic high in the domestic market, an increase in its main input prices was a major challenge to the industry. “Coal rates are constantly going up in the global market and the cement sector is facing a major increase in cost,” he pointed out. “Moreover, diesel and petrol prices have gone up for the fifth time in the past three months, which has resulted in an increase in transportation cost.”
“A declining trend in exports has been noted in the last three months as cement manufacturers are losing competitiveness due to high fuel and energy costs,” the spokesperson said, adding that fuel and energy were the two major inputs of the cement industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2021.
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