LAHORE: With the construction sector receiving a boost through the public sector development programme and other projects, the cement industry has recorded a substantial increase in sales.
Cement sales to domestic markets during April rose 7.2% to 2.539 million tons compared with 2.368 million tons in the same month last year.
“Owing to funds released by the World Bank for the Dasu power project and other power projects, we can see a healthy growth in the cement sector,” said a spokesman for the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).
Though the overall increase in cement sales was only 1.17%, domestic sales continued to rise which offset the regular decline in cement exports, he said.
Exports during April were 672,000 tons against 754,000 tons in April 2013, a decline of 11%. Total dispatches in the month were 3.21 million tons compared to 3.12 million tons in the same month last year, showing an increase of 2.8%.
In the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, the cement industry sold 21.3 million tons in domestic markets, posting a growth of 2.7% compared with the corresponding period of last year. Overall sales in 10 months grew 1.17% as total dispatches rose to 27.986 million tons against 27.664 million tons from July 2012 to April 2013.
Cement sales touched an all-time high of 3.21 million tons in April, raising hopes of a long-awaited turnaround. The spokesperson termed the buoyancy in the domestic market a great relief for the sector as the capacity was mainly increased to cater to local demand.
The cement industry utilised 75.21% of capacity, the highest in the last five years, and experts expect it to rise to 80% by the end of June.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2014.
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