Lahore: Local cement consumption surged 17.49 percent in the first eight months of the current fiscal due to the growing infrastructure development projects in the country, data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said on Friday.
Local cement supplies were recorded at 20.89 million tons in the July-February period, up from 17.78 million tons in the same period last fiscal.
However, cement exports registered massive decline of 22.54 percent, as the volumes reduced from 5 million tons during July-February 2014-15 to 3.8 million tons during the same period this fiscal.
According to the APCMA figures, overall, the cement industry posted a growth of 8.71 percent during the first eight months of the current fiscal year compared with the same period last fiscal.
Total dispatches this period were 24.76 million tons against 22.78 million tons last fiscal.
In the month of February 2016, local sales of cement posted an encouraging growth of 29.79 percent. Since December 2014 cement exports indicated a slight growth of 1.47 percent in February 2016 compared to exports during February 2015, resulting in an overall growth of 25.06 percent compared to the same month of last fiscal year.
The overall domestic and export volumes were 2,981,904 tons and 467,287 tons respectively during February 2016 compared to 2,297,568 tons and 460,510 tons during February 2015.
The domestic sales up north during February 2016 were 2,428,597 tons compared to the domestic sales of 1,885,982 tons during the same month last year, showing growth of 28.77 percent.
The local sales in the south during February 2016 were 553,307 tons compared to the local sales of 411,586 tons during the same month last year, showing growth of 34.43 percent.
The southern units exported 169,809 tons during February 2016 against 208,461 tons in February 2015, a decline of 18.9 percent.
Exports from north increased from 251,049 tons during February 2015 to 297,478 tons during February 2016, by 18.5 percent. Total dispatches increased from 2.758 million tons during February 2015 to 3.449 million tons during February 2016 showing an increase of 25.06 percent that has been the highest overall increase in a month during the first eight months of the current fiscal.
A spokesman of the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association said the buoyancy in cement demand has kept the wheel of the industry moving. He said the timely increase in capacities has ensured the industry would be able to meet the local demand easily.
He said the industry was going for further expansions anticipating increase in economic activities as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor nears completion.
The spokesman added that industry was operating at a capacity of more than 80 percent and with a little support of government, it can do wonders.
He regretted that the problems faced by the industry remained unresolved.
The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association spokesman said the duty on coal – an important input of the industry, has still not been withdrawn. Moreover, the checks on Pakistan-Iran border were still lax which facilitates smuggling of Iranian cement to the Pakistani market. The issue of under-invoicing of Iranian cement, he added, was also not being addressed.