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May 5, 2021

Cement sales grow 40.4pc in April

Business

May 5, 2021

LAHORE: Cement sales – local and exports – raced ahead in double-digit growth in April compared to the COVID-addled last year haunted by lockdown, but there was an eight percent decline month-on-month due to Ramazan slowdown.

Total sales of 4.9 million tons were 40.4 percent up from 3.5 million tons in the corresponding month of last fiscal year, according to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA). Local cement sales increased to 4.06 million tons from 3.2 million tons, an increase of 24.3 percent. Exports also increased 252 percent, from 249,127 tons to 877,163 tons. In March 2020, total cement dispatches were 5.37 million tons, according to the APCMA data.

A spokesman of APCMA said domestic cement sales are increasing even in the Ramzan month during which the construction activities usually slow down. Local cement dispatches were recorded at 4.56 million tons in March, according to APCMA data.

Local cement sales declined month-on-month in April due to slowdown of economic activities during Ramazan, according to analyst Shankar Talreja at Karachi-based Topline Research.

“It is towards the lower range of historical decline of 8-20 percent,” said Talreja. “Sales over next two months will continue to post robust year-on-year growth due to low base effect because of lockdown last year.” In April, the north-based cement mills dispatched 3.37 million tons in domestic markets showing an increase of 15.3 percent. South-based mills sold 688,239 tons cement in local markets compared to 342,594 tons a year earlier.

Exports from north-based mills registered 155 times increase to 250,072 tons from 1,609 tons. Exports from South also increased 153.35 percent to 627,091 tons.

In July-April, total cement sales were 48.2 million tons, 19 percent higher than 40.5 million tons. During the period, local dispatches increased by 18.8 percent to 40.2 million tons. Exports rose to 8.02 million tons from 6.69 million tons, showing a growth of 19.8 percent. North-based mills dispatched 34 million tons of cement for domestic consumption in 10 months compared to 28.9 million tons last year. Exports from north were 2.16 million tons showing an increase of 12.7 percent.

Local dispatches from South-based mills were 6.2 million tons, up 26.9 percent from the same period a year earlier. Exports from South increased to 5.86 million tons from 4.77 million tons.

Cement exports are expected to cross nine million tons by June-end, said the APCMA representative. Cement exports have touched 8 million tons during the first ten months of current fiscal year. “However, despite this growth, the industry is operating in very tough scenario due to continuous rise in major inputs. We request the government to treat the cement sector at par with other exporting sectors and rationalize import levies on coal as well as the electricity tariff which are the mains cost elements of cement sector,” he added.