LAHORE: The cement industry dispatched 33.88 million tons during the first 10 months (July-April) of this fiscal year as compared to 31.901 million tons during the same period of the last year, up by 6.21 percent, figures released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) showed on Friday.
The APCMA stats revealed that during July-April FY17 period, domestic consumption surged by 10.74 percent to 29.871 million tons from 26.973 million tons last year, while the exports declined by 18.63 percent from 4.928 million tons last year to 4.01 million tons during the ten months of current fiscal year.
In the month of April, the cement-makers dispatched 3.576 million tons, out of which 2.734 million tons was dispatched in the Northern part of the country and 0.586 million tons in the South. During the month of April 2017, capacity utilisation of the industry remained 92 percent. Moreover, the domestic consumption of cement surged by 9.53 percent while the exports declined by 50.75 percent during April 2017.
Exports declined by more than 50 percent in the month of April. The exports from mills based in north were 181911 tons, while from mills in south it was only 0.074 million tons. Total export of cement to Afghanistan in April was 0.045 million tons, whereas export to India and other countries stood at 0.131 million tons and 0.081 million tons respectively.
According to an APCMA spokesman, the buoyancy in the domestic market is a good omen for the cement industry. “However it is not prudent to ignore the sharp decline in exports,” he said adding exports at one time peaked above 10 million tons, which has progressively declined to almost half.
He added the industry is operating in excess capacity and is regularly adding new units to keep abreast with the expected increase in construction activities. “Naturally, the cement manufacturers are more interested in catering to the domestic market, but they have to dispose of excess capacities through exports. If exports continued to decline new capacity additions in the sector would stop,” he said.