KARACHI: Cement sales in the first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year grew a meagre 0.3%, restricted by a decline in exports to major overseas markets and economic slowdown in the country.
Total cement sales in the five-month period stood at 13.167 million tons compared to 13.127 million tons in the corresponding period of last fiscal year, data released by the cement industry showed.
Capacity utilisation in five months was estimated at 70.79% -- the lowest in the last five years, which industry players attributed to slower economic growth in the country.
Cement exports to Afghanistan is declining gradually due to the sluggish pace of new development projects in the country, while expected withdrawal of Nato forces from Afghanistan next year has also created a sense of uncertainty, industry officials say.
India, also an export destination for Pakistani cement, is experiencing economic slowdown, leading to a fall in cement demand.
In November alone, cement sales in the domestic market posted a growth of 8.61% while exports dropped 12.84%, resulting in an overall marginal growth of 3.03% compared to the previous year. The increase in domestic consumption was offset by a substantial fall in exports.
Data compiled by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers’ Association showed that total sales in November were 2.731 million tons compared to 2.650 million tons in the same month of last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2013.
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