The cement sector posted first real growth during September this year as the total dispatches increased by 11.51 percent compared with the corresponding period of last year; with both local consumption and exports increasing in double digits.
Cement industry dispatched 4.270 million tons of cement in September 2019 against 3.829 million tons dispatched in September 2018. Domestic consumption reached 3.
472 million tons this September while it was 3.114 million tons during the same month last year. Exports in the month also increased to 0.798 million tons last month as compared to 0.715 million tons in September 2018, an increase of 11.66 percent.
A major change witnessed this fiscal is that the consumption in the Northern region of the country has started rising and in September 2019 the local consumption increased by 22.4 percent from 2.473 million ton in September 2018 to 3.027 million tons last month. The Southern region that was buoyant last fiscal remained subdued in September 2019 with 0.446 million tons local desptaches as compared 0.641 million tons in September 2018, depicting a decline of 30.48 percent.
During the first quarter of this fiscal, the total cement dispatches amounted to 11.133 million tons compared with the first quarter of last fiscal when cement dispatches were 10.855 million tons. This comes to a surge of merely 2.56 percent in total dispatches.
Local dispatches in the July-Sep 2019 were almost the same as compared to the same period last year, rising to 9.116 million tons from 9.063 million tons in July-September 2018. Exports however registered a healthy increase of 12.54 percent as they rose to 2.017 million tons in the first quarter of this fiscal from 1.792 million tons in the same period last year.
A spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) while appreciating the revival of cement consumption in the Northern part of the country has expressed concern at steep decline in uptake of cement in the Southern region. He said the lopsided consumption pattern has benefitted the plants located in the Northern region while those operating in the South have entered the red zone as 32.10 percent decline in uptake is extremely high and alarming during the first quarter of this fiscal.
“Government should start the work on announced housing projects that will have a positive impact on uptake of construction materials including cement and create jobs for skilled and unskilled labour,” he added.
He also appealed to the government to support the industry by minimizing duties and taxes on cement in order to increase cement consumption.