LAHORE: Cement dispatches during August 2016 stood at 3.585 million tons, 16.75% higher than dispatches of 3.071 million tons recorded during the same month of previous fiscal year, according to the data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association.
Domestic sales during August 2016 were 3.028 million tons against 2.5 million tons in August 2015, a growth of 20.92%. Zone-wise, domestic sales during August 2016 in the north were 2.495 million tons against 2.034 million tons in August 2015, while in the south they amounted to 0.532 million tons against 0.47 million tons in August 2015.
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On a year-on-year basis, total domestic demand during the first two months of current fiscal year stood at 4.89 million tons compared to 4.3 million tons in the same period of last year, showing a growth of 13.83%.
Exports have been continuously falling and during the first two months they went down to 1.022 million tons from 1.032 million tons during the same period of last year.
Exports to Afghanistan dropped to 346,928 tons during the two months compared to 394,500 tons in the corresponding period of last year, down 12.1%.
Exports by sea suffered even more. Against 537,120 tons exported during July and August 2015, exports in the first two months of 2016 were 407,120 tons, down 24.19%.
However, higher exports to India somewhat made up for the shortfall. Exports to India during the first two months were 268,230 tons compared to 100,437 tons during the same period of previous year. The industry has come a long way in the past two decades increasing its installed capacity five times. The buoyancy in the sector, on the back of robust domestic consumption over the last 20 months, has encouraged players to go for further expansion.
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The upcoming projects along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route would further boost consumption. Due to this, various companies are going for expansion, which would increase the overall capacity and help in the development of CPEC projects.
Domestic consumption of cement has increased manifold while the industry has yet to realise its export potential.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2016.
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