LAHORE: Cement sector posted a decline of 10.7% in growth for January 2019 compared to the corresponding month of the previous year raising alarm bells for producers possessing huge production capacities.
Data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) revealed that the cement industry despatched 3.646 million tons in January 2019 against despatches of 4.083 million tons in January 2018. This highlights that the domestic sector nearly collapsed as the uptake of cement contracted from 3.737 million tons in January 2018 to 3.066 million tons in 2019, displaying a fall of 17.94%.
The buoyancy in exports stayed on course as exports skyrocketed by 67.27%. The industry exported 0.579 million tons cement in January 2019 against a mere 0.347 million tons exported in the same month of the previous year.
For the first time in this fiscal year, the domestic consumption in the southern region of the country posted a nominal decline while the downslide in the northern region continued unabated. Uptake in north was only 2.355 million tons last month against 3.018 million tons in January 2018. The consumption in the south slipped from 0.719 million tons in January 2018 to 0.711 million tons in the period under review.
Fiscal year 2019
Cement despatches in the first seven months of the current fiscal year stood at 26.765 million tons, which was only 1.67% higher than the despatches of 26.325 million tons achieved during the same period of last year.
Out of this, exports during Jul-Jan FY19 amounted to 4.141 million tons, 50.47% higher against 2.775 million tons exported in the corresponding period last year.
A look at the regional performance revealed that mills located in the north suffered more than south-based mills.
The domestic consumption of north-based mills declined by 8.43% to 17.831 million tons in the first seven months of this fiscal from 19.473 million tons in the corresponding period of previous year.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2019.