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LAHORE: Cement despatches declined by 4.2 percent in December 2021 as total despatches during the month were 4.59 million tons against 4.79 million tons despatched during the same month of last fiscal year.

According to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), local cement despatches by the industry during the month of December 2021 were 4.057 million tons compared to 4.159 million tons in December 2020, showing a reduction of 2.45 percent. Exports despatches declined by 15.61 percent as the volumes reduced from 637,511 tons in December 2020 to 538,002 tons in December 2021. In December 2021, the North-based cement mills despatched 3.377 million tons cement in domestic markets showing a reduction of 2.71 percent against 3.471 million tons despatches in December2020. The South-based mills despatched 680,126 tons cement in local markets during December2021 that was 1.15 percent less compared to the despatches of 688,056 tons during December 2020.

Exports from the North-based mills massively declined by 77.35 percent as the quantities reduced from 123,089 tons in December 2020 to 27,885 tons in December 2021.

Exports from the South slightly reduced by 0.84 percent to 510,117 tons in December 2021 from 514,422 tons during the same month last year.

During the first six months of current fiscal year, total cement despatches (domestic and exports) were 27.456 million tons that calculates to 4.12 percent lower than 28.637 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Further analysis indicate that domestic uptake of the commodity slightly increased by 1.91 percent to 24.065 million tons from 23.615 million tons during July-December 2020 whereas exports during the same period declined by a massive 32.47 percent to 3.391 million tons from 5.021 million tons during July-December 2020.

The North-based mills despatched 20.163 million tons cement domestically during the first six months of current fiscal year showing a slight reduction of 0.32 percent than cement despatches of 20.228 million tons during July-December 2020. Exports from North declined by 55.08 percent to 543,888 tons during July-December 2021 compared with 1.210 million tons exported during the same period last year.

Aggregate despatches (domestic plus exports) in north were 20.706 million tons that calculates to 3.42 percent lower than 21.439 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

Domestic despatches by the South-based mills during July-December 2021 were 3.902 million tons showing an increase of 15.23 percent over 3.386 million tons cement despatched during the same period of last fiscal year. There was however substantial decline of around 25.29 percent in exports from south zone as the volumes reduced to 2.847 million tons in the first six months of current fiscal year from 3.810 million tons during corresponding period of last fiscal year. Combined despatches (domestic plus exports) in south were 6.749 million tons that calculates to 6.22 percent lower than 7.197 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) spokesmen emphasized that the industry continues to face problems due to currency devaluation, increase in electricity tariffs, coal cost as well as high taxation. Cement industry does not get any subsidy from the government and in fact it contributes to national exchequer by exporting its products again without getting any form of subsidy from government and it also contributes billions of rupees in form of income tax, sales tax and federal excise duty. The industry expects government to provide a level-playing field so that industry can compete and remain competitive.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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