The cement sector posted a negative growth of 19.41% in July 2021 owing to heavy rains in most parts of the country coupled with the closure of industrial sector due to Eidul Azha.
According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), total cement sales in the first month of current fiscal year stood at 3.9 million tons against 4.8 million tons in July 2020.
Local offtake of the commodity dropped from 3.95 million tons in July 2020 to 3.45 million tons in July 2021, depicting a reduction of 12.8%. Similarly, exports showed a massive reduction of 49% as the country sent only 452,776 tons abroad during July 2021 compared to 885,255 tons in the same month of last year.
A major decline in domestic cement consumption was in the northern region where cement sales fell 15.81% to 2.9 million tons. Sales in the northern part had been 3.4 million tons in July 2020. On the flip side, exports from the region increased by 10.42%, rising from 122,823 tons in July 2020 to 135,618 tons in July 2021.
Mills based in the southern part of the country sold 554,442 tons of cement in the domestic market last month, which was 7.07% higher than the 517,850 tons supplied to retailers in the corresponding month of previous year.
Cement exports from the south dived 58.40% to 317,159 tons in July 2021 from 762,432 tons in July 2020. Market sources said that monsoon rains in July 2021 and suspension of construction activities during Eidul Azha holidays affected cement demand.
An APCMA spokesman expressed concern over the slide in cement demand. He, however, voiced hope that the cement industry would regain its growth momentum in the coming months on the back of government’s pro-construction sector policies.
“Projects under the government-sponsored Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) are being constructed in full spirit and development funds have been released upfront,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2021.
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