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LAHORE: The cement sector after six-month continuous decline has shown some recovery in January 2023 when its despatches increased by 1.15%. Total cement despatches during January 2023 were registered at 4.005 million tons against 3.960 million tons despatched during the same month of last fiscal year.

According to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) on Friday, local cement despatches by the industry during the month of January 2023 were 3.587 million tons compared to 3.409 million tons in January 2022, showing an increase of 5.24%. Exports despatches however declined by 24.13% as the volumes reduced from 551,006 tons in January 2022 to 418,067 tons in January 2023.

In January 2023, North-based cement mills despatched 2.892 million tons cement showing an increase of 6.08% against 2.726 million tons despatches in January 2022. South-based mills despatched 1.113 million tons cement during January 2023 that was 9.74% less compared to the despatches of 1.234 million tons during January 2022.

North-based cement mills despatched 2.857 million tons cement in domestic markets in January 2023 showing an increase of 5.32% against 2.712 million tons despatches in January 2022. South-based mills despatched 730,703 tons cement in local markets during January 2023 that was 4.92% more compared to the despatches of 696,468 during January 2022.

Exports from North-based mills increased by 156.54% as the quantities increased from 13,727 tons in January 2022 to 35,215 tons in January 2023. Exports from South-based mills reduced by 28.74% to 382,852 tons in January 2023 from 537,279 tons during the same month last year.

During the first seven months of current fiscal year, total cement despatches (domestic and exports) were 25.769 million tons that is 17.97% lower than 31.416 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Domestic despatches during this period were 23.617 million tons against 27.474 million tons during same period last year showing a reduction of 14.04%.

Export despatches were also 45.40% less as the volumes reduced to 2.152 million tons during the first seven months of current fiscal year compared to 3.942 million tons exports done during same period of last fiscal year.

North-based mills despatched 19.378 million tons cement domestically during the first seven months of current fiscal year showing a reduction of 15.29% than cement despatches of 22.875 million tons during July 2021-January 2022 period. Exports from North-based mills increased by 9.98% percent to 613,289 tons during July 2022-January 2023 compared with 557,615 tons exported during the same period last year. Total despatches by North-based mills reduced by 14.69% to 19.992 million tons during first seven months of current financial year from 23.433 million tons during same period of last financial year.

Domestic despatches by South-based mills during July 2022-January 2023 were 4.239 million tons showing reduction of 7.83% over 4.599 million tons cement despatched during the same period of last fiscal year.

Exports from South-based mills declined by 54.53% to 1.539 million tons during July 2022-January 2023 compared with 3.384 million tons exported during the same period last year. Total despatches by South-based mills reduced by 27.63% to 5.778 million tons during first seven months of current financial year from 7.983 million tons during same period of last financial year.

The APCMA spokesman mentioned that the sector was facing several challenges due to non-opening of letter of credits for coal, spare parts and other consumable items required for the smooth running of the plants.

“The government must ensure that letter of credits are opened on timely basis to avoid any supply disruptions and closure of factories,” he demanded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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