Domestic cement despatches up by 10.85pc

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Buoyancy in the domestic cement market continued unabated in August as well as local sales increased by 10.85 percent compared with sales during corresponding month of last year but exports nosedived by 26.47 percent reducing overall sales growth to 5.05 percent only.
According to the data for the month of August 2017, Cement despatches in the month were 3.766 million tons as compared to 3.585 million tons in August 2016.
In August 2017 the domestic cement despatches in the Northern region was 2.731 million tons against despatches of 2.495 in August 2016 whereas the despatches in the Southern region was 0.625 million tons in August 2017 against despatches of 0.532 million tons in same month last year.
Exports from North were 0.307 million tons last month against 0.355 million tons in August 2016. The exports from the South stood at 0.103 million tons in August 2017 against exports of 0.203 million tons in August last year.
A spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association said that the capacity utilization in August 2017 was more than 96 percent as the domestic cement despatches are constantly increasing which is a good sign. This, he added, indicates that the economy is in good shape.
In the first two months of this fiscal the industry despatched 7.148 million tons cement showing an overall growth of 20.81 percent over the corresponding period of last fiscal.
During this period the domestic consumption increased by 27.95 percent but exports declined by 13.39 percent. It is worth noting that the domestic cement consumption during July-August of this fiscal increased by 28.51 percent in the North and by 25.41 percent in the Southern part of the country.
In contrast the exports from North declined by only 2.47 percent compared with a decline of 25.41 percent in the South. This should be a matter of concern for the authorities because in the past the South based mills being nearer to sea were leading cement exporters.
However, he pointed out that constant decline in cement exports is a source of concern for the industry.