Domestic cement sales hit record highs

Manufacturers sold 25m tons last year, exports stayed stagnant.

Our Correspondent July 03, 2013
New financial year will prove productive for the industry, as the government is paying attention to developing infrastructure. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Domestic cement sales crossed 25 million tons in financial year 2012-13 for the first time in the country’s history, which was 1.1 million tons higher than previous year’s 23.95 million tons, but stagnant exports marred the jubilation among cement manufacturers.

According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, the industry sold 33.43 million tons of cement in 2012-13, of which 25.06 million tons were consumed domestically and 8.37 million tons were exported.

Total sales, however, stood lower than the record dispatches at 34.22 million tons in 2009-10, propelled by export of 10.65 million tons whereas domestic consumption stood at 23.57 million tons. Exports in 2012-13 remained stagnant at 8.37 million tons.

Data for June indicated that construction activities in the country had slowed down a bit as the new government settled down. Entrepreneurs were looking for direction from the new economic managers.

Domestic sales dropped from 2.29 million tons in June 2012 to 2.21 million tons in June 2013, a decrease of 3.23%. Exports fell even more in the month from 731,000 tons to 665,000 tons, a decline of 8.97%.

A spokesman for the association commented that the surge in domestic demand was heartening for the manufacturers, noting that plant capacities were mainly enhanced to cater to the country’s needs.

Cement exports were made even where they were marginally feasible, he said, arguing domestic demand was not rising significantly because of economic slowdown.

He believes that the new financial year would prove to be highly productive for the cement industry as the government was paying keen attention to developing infrastructure and accelerating economic growth.

With proper planning and prudent policies, he hoped, Pakistan would have the capability to consume the entire capacity of 44.7 million tons of cement.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2013.

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