All Pakistan Cement Manufacturer Association (APCMA) has released local/overseas dispatches data for the six months of July – Dec 2019 today. During this period, the Northern region excelled in domestic dispatches but performed poor in exports. On the other hand, the Southern region over excelled in exports but its performance in the domestic market was pathetic. The representative body APCMA attributes it to lopsided growth pattern of the economy.
In the first six month of this fiscal, the cement dispatches in the country increased 6.51 per cent to 24.751Mt against 23.239Mt dispatched during the same period last year. The domestic consumption registered an increase of only 3.54 per cent to 20.373Mt that was 19.677Mt in the same period last year, while exports increased by over 22 per cent to 4.377Mt from 3.561Mt in the same period last year.
Out this total, the Northern mills dispatched 17.406Mt cement to the local market in 6MFY2019/20, registering an increase of 11.65 per cent over the consumption during the same period last year. The exports from North could reach only 1.420Mt, registering a decrease of 3.85 per cent over the exports achieved during the same period last year.
The Southern region dispatched 2.967Mt of cement for local market in the first six month of this fiscal that was 27.41 per cent lower than the dispatches during July-December 2018. It is interesting to note that the exports from the South in the last six months almost matched the local consumption in that region. The exports were 2.957Mt, registering an impressive growth of 41.87 per cent.
In the month of December 2019 alone, cement dispatches increased by 10.69 per cent to 4.306Mt from 3.891Mt in December 2018. The domestic consumption increased by 7.16 percent to 3.536Mt in December 2019 from 3.300Mt in December 2018 while the exports registered another impressive increase of 30.38 percent from 0.591Mt in December 2018 to 0.769Mt in December 2019.
In December 2019, the cement mills based in the northern part of the country dispatched 3.172Mt, 11.2 per cent, higher than 2.852Mt in December 2018. Domestic dispatches increased from 2.62Mt in December 2018 to 2.96Mt last month whereas exports decreased from 0.227Mt in December 2018 to 0.207Mt in December 2019.
South based cement mills dispatched 1.135Mt in December 2019, 9.24 per cent up from 1.039 in December 2018. The domestic consumption declined from 0.675Mt in December 2018 to 0.572Mt in December 2019, however, exports from the region increased to 0.563Mt in December 2019 from 0.364Mt in December 2018.
According to APCMA, the industry is sitting on a huge unutilized capacity as it will dispatch just over 47Mt cement this year at this rate against an installed capacity of 59.65Mt and this situation will not trigger any investment and expansion in the industry and employment in the sector will gradually decrease. To support the sector, association has suggested the government to start work on PSDP and announced housing projects that will boost the contribution of the construction sector and job opportunities for skilled and unskilled labour.