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LAHORE: Monsoon rains and holidays on account of Eid-ul-Azha during the month of July 2021 seriously affected the cement demand because of which the sector posted a negative growth of 19.41 percent. The total cement despatches in July 2021 were 3.899 million tons against 4.838 million tons during July 2020.

Domestic despatches dropped from 3.953 million tons in July 2020 to 3.446 million tons in July 2021 showing a reduction of 12.8 percent. Exports showed substantial reduction by 49 percent as the country exported only 452,776 tons during July 2021 compared to 885,255 tons during July 2020, disclosed the analysis of monthly figures released by the cement manufacturing sector here on Tuesday.

Analysis of zone-wise demand revealed that major decline in domestic cement consumption was in the Northern regions of the country where only 2.892 million tons of cement was consumed in July 2021 compared to 3.435 million tons in July 2020, showing a decrease of 15.81 percent. However, the exports from Northern regions increased by 10.42 percent to 135,618 ton in July 2021 from 122,823 ton in July 2020.

Mills based in South despatched 554,442 tons of cement for domestic markets during July 2021 that was 7.07 percent higher than the despatches of 517,850 tons in the corresponding month of last fiscal. The cement exports from South experienced serious dip by a whopping 58.40 percent as the quantities dropped to 317,159 tons from 762,432 tons in July 2020.

All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) while releasing the data expressed concerns about the slide in demand. He was, however, quite hopeful that cement industry will regain its growth momentum in the coming months mainly due to pro government policies related to construction sector.

"The government's sponsored PSDP projects are in full swing where upfront development funds were released," he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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