All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) recently reported that the cement despatches during July – March 2010/11 totalled 16.017 million t, a 7.86% decrease when compared to last year’s corresponding figure of 17.383 million t.
The APCMA said in its statement that the northern plants published a 12.06% decline, whereas the southern plants showed a 17.41% gain during the reviewed period. There was a 14.46% decline in overall exports, the new figure of 6.724 million t falling short against last year’s corresponding 7.860 million t.
Although exports trended negatively as a whole, cement exports to Afghanistan increased during the reviewed period by more than 16%, from 2.820 million t to 3.277 million t. Exports to India declined by 22.39% and by 32.69% to 2.905 million t to other destinations via sea.
In March of this year, the total reported figure of cement sales was 2.223 million t, a decline of 3.76% against recorded sales of 2.310 million t in March 2010. When compared with the corresponding month of last year, cement exports in March 2011 fell by 11.83% to 0.820 million t.
Capacity utilisation during the first nine months of this fiscal year decreased by 73.53% owing to almost 10% decline in sales.
The APCMA reported apprehension amongst industry experts, who fear a near total collapse of the sector if immediate remedial steps are not taken. Subdued economic activities are cited as the cause for the decline in domestic sales, and since the global economy is showing signs of recovery, the decline of 14.46% in cement exports should be a matter of concern for the economic managers of the country. When the global recession was at its peak, cement exports showed a strong growth of 140% in 2007/8 and over 39% in 2008/09.
A spokesman for APCMA also denied the notion of any unethical agreement for increase in cement prices and pointed out that most of its member companies had been incurring huge losses after the substantial hike in the cost of production.
Coal, furnace oil, diesel, paper bags, electricity and rate of interest have increased significantly in the last few months, which have rocketed cement producers’ cost of production. Additionally, the government recently raised the Special Excise Duty from 1% to 2.5%, further adversely affecting the cost of production.
At the end of the last fiscal year, industry debts to financial institutions totalled an astounding Rs132 billion.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/asia-pacific-rim/05042011/pakistans_cement_sales_fall_by_7-86_percent/