Cement exports surge, domestic despatches fall.
KARACHI -- Cement despatches fell marginally by 0.279 million tonnes in the first half of the fiscal year. Though the drop is a small one, it is the first time in nine years that cement despatches have actually dropped in the first half of the fiscal year.
The total despatches were 19.557m tonnes in the period July to December, down from 19.836m tonnes in the same period last year.
However, cement exports saw a whopping 48 per cent jump in the same period, rising to 3.560m tonnes from to 2.405m tonnes during 1HFY18, which increased the total despatches (domestic and exports) by 4pc to 23.11m tonnes.
All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) spokesperson said decline in domestic cement consumption is more pronounced in the Northern region of the country where most of the production capacity is installed.
Domestic cement despatches in the North fell by 6pc in the period from 16.455m tonnes in July-Dec 2017 to 15.475m tonnes in July-Dec 2018. In contrast, the South saw despatches increased by 21pc from 3.382m tonnes in first six months of FY17-18 to 4.082m tonnes this fiscal.
South-based plants saw a massive jump of 243pc in exports from 0.608m tonnes in July-Dec 2017 to 2.084m tonnes in July-Dec 2018. Exports dropped in the North by 18pc from 1.797m tonnes in July-Dec 2017 to 1.476m tonnes tons in July-Dec 2018.
In December 2018, the cement industry dispatched 3.865m tonnes, up by 3.63pc than 3.729m tonnes in the corresponding month of last year. Total domestic despatches in the month fell from 3.403m tonnes in December 2017 to 3.274mn tonnes last month, depicting a decrease of 4pc. However, exports grew by 81pc from 0.327m tonnes in December 2017 to 0.594m tonnes in December 2018.
The APCMA spokesman said swelling exports show the Pakistani cement industry is globally competitive and the country can earn precious foreign exchange with government support.
He hoped the government would consider starting development projects to boost domestic cement consumption and employment in the construction sector.