Cement sales fall 29 percent as business environment weakens

LAHORE: Sliding trend in cement uptake continued for the third consecutive month as sales declined 29 percent in April 2022 mainly due to an unfavourable business environment in the country.

According to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), the total cement dispatches during April 2022 were 3.52 million tons against 4.94 million tons during the same month of last fiscal year.

Local cement dispatches were 3.37 million tons in April 2022 compared to 4.06 million tons in April 2021, down 17.06 percent. Exports also suffered massive 82.15 percent decline, as volumes slid from 877,163 tons in April 2021 to 156,613 tons in April 2022.

North-based cement factories dispatched 2.8 million tons domestically, showing a reduction of 16.93 percent against 3.3 million tons dispatched in the same month last year. South-based mills dispatched 566,538 tons in the local markets, which was 17.68 percent less compared to 688,239 tons sold during April 2021.

Exports from the units up north dropped 75.22 percent as quantities reduced from 250,072 tons in April 2021 to 61,971 tons in April 2022. Similarly, exports from the south also reduced by 84.91 percent to 94.642 tons in April 2022 from 627,091 tons in the same month last year.

During the first ten months of the current fiscal year, total cement dispatches (domestic and exports) were 44.3 million tons, down 8.22 percent from 48.27 million tons dispatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

Further analysis indicated that domestic uptake reduced by 1.84 percent to 39.5 million tons from 40.24 million tons during July-April 2021, whereas exports during the same period declined by a massive 40.19 percent to 4.8 million tons from 8.02 million tons during July-April 2021.

North-based mills dispatched 32.73 million tons cement domestically during the first ten months of the current fiscal year, sliding 3.73 percent from 34 million tons during July-April 2021.

Exports from the north declined by 65.71 percent to 741,072 tons during July- April 2022 compared with 2.16 million tons exported during the same period last year.

Domestic dispatches by the south-based mills during July-April 2022 were 6.77 million tons showing an increase of 8.46 percent over 6.24 million tons cement dispatched during the same period of the last fiscal year.

There was however a significant decline of around 30.79 percent in exports from the south zone as volumes reduced to 4.05 million tons in the first ten months of the current fiscal year, from 5.86 million tons during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.

The APCMA spokesperson expressed serious concerns on continuous decline in industry dispatches due to the current unstable business and economic situation in the country. He emphasized that industry needs immediate relief from the government to reduce the cost of production and to increase its sales in domestic as well as international markets. “It is the need of the hour to address industry issues in the coming budget and to formulate policies to increase capacity utilisation,” he added.

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