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LAHORE: Though cement sector posted growth of 16.28 percent in January 2021 as compared to January 2020, the growth remained confined to local cement consumption where 4.03 million tons of cement was despatched in January 2021 as compared to 3.26 million tons of the corresponding period of 2020.

Exports dropped by 14.09 percent from 808,874 tons in January 2020 to 694,934 tons in January 2021.

Total cement despatches during January 2021 were 4.73 million tons against 4.07 million tons despatched during the same month of last fiscal year, reveals the data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).

During January 2021, the North-based factories despatched 3.31 million tons cement locally, a healthy increase of 23.48 percent from 2.68 million tons in January 2020, while the South-based mills despatched 724,281 tons cement for local consumption which was 24.59 percent higher than 581,316 tons cement despatched in January 2020.

Exports from North-based mills increased by 25.36 percent to 233,404 tons in January 2021 from 186,185 tons in January 2020. The exports from South decreased by 25.88 percent to 461,530 tons in January 2021 from 622,689 tons during the same month last year.

In the first seven months of this fiscal year, total cement despatches (domestic and exports) were 33.36 million tons that was 15.77 percent higher than the cement despatches during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

Local despatches increased by 16.98 percent in July20 - Jan21 period to 27.65 million tons from 23.63 million tons in July19 - Jan20. Exports also increased from 5.186 million tons in July19 - Jan 20 to 5.71 million tons in July20 - Jan 2021 showing a growth of 10.23 percent.

During first seven months of current fiscal year, North based mills despatched 23.54 million tons cement for domestic consumption that was 17.18 percent higher compared to the despatches during same period last fiscal year that stood at 20.09 million tons. Exports from North were 1.44 million tons showing decline of 10.09 percent over exports of 1.61 million tons during the same period of last fiscal year.

The South-based mills despatched 4.11 million tons in the domestic market during the first seven months of current fiscal year which was 15.86 percent higher than 3.54 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. The exports from South were 4.27 million tons registering an increase of 19.35 percent over exports of 3.57 million tons during same period last year.

The APCMA spokesman told Business Recorder here Tuesday that though the cement uptake has reached historic high in the domestic market but the increase in its main inputs is the major challenge for the industry. Coal rates are constantly going up in the global market and the cement sector is facing major cost increase. Moreover, the diesel and petrol prices have increased for the fifth time in the past three months that has resulted in an increase in transportation cost. “There is a declining trend in exports in the last three months as the cement manufacturers are losing competitiveness due to high fuel and energy costs,” he said, adding that fuel and energy are the two major inputs of the cement industry.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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