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While Pakistani local cement manufacturers are tying all their hopes and dreams to domestic markets- where the influx of demand is expected from housing and construction projects under the Naya Pakistan Housing and construction package initiatives, in addition to the newly announced Diamer Bhasha dam that will lead to spike- global markets are not that optimistic. In fact, Pakistani exports may serve as one small indicator as well. They have suffered (dropped 9% in 10MFY20), and they will continue to suffer as cement and clinker across the world subsides due to COVID-19.

Cement consumption world over - including the US, Europe, China, Africa and East Asia- is expected to be cut down significantly this year and analysts believe next year may be even worse as the adverse affects of coronavirus spread come to a head.

As demand due to the pandemic slides, governments are likely to impose protectionary restrictions against imports to protect domestic interests. This is specially true for countries that are most hit in terms of demand, are in some form of a lockdown, have instated border closures and travel bans and are not witnessing a flattening of the COVID-19 curve as fast as they would hope.

Infrastructure spending and real estate development have experienced a marked decline already. Public spending may steer toward health and medical care, not to mention, economic safety nets for the most vulnerable while private spending is expected to remain subdued due to uncertainty and tight economic conditions.

Analysts believe major markets such as US and UK are likely to cut down imports, even without government protections as producers control bulk imports and may slash down trade themselves as consumption recedes. This will cause a rupture in business opportunities for exporters which may see plant utilizations deplete.