KARACHI: Cement sales jumped to record 42.915 million tonnes in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year over 37.588m tonnes in the same period last year.
Capacity utilisation at 95 per cent which is also the highest-ever in the history of the local cement industry. A capacity utilisation of 93.62pc was achieved in 1992-93.
Domestic consumption in the country’s northern parts stood at 31.811m tonnes, up by 16.76pc over the corresponding period of last fiscal. The cement plants in the South despatched 6.755m tonnes, posting a growth rate of 12.12pc.
Total exports in 11 months increased to 4.348m tonnes, showing a modest growth of 0.69pc as exports surged after devaluation of the rupee in the last few months.
With fifteen days of fasting falling in May, cement consumption was slightly affected as domestic despatches posted growth of 2.40pc; lowest this fiscal. Exports however, grew by a healthy 42pc boosting overall growth to 5.69pc.
Traditionally construction activities slowed down in Ramazan and even a slight growth in May indicated that the buoyancy in the sector was still there. Exports continued to post a healthy growth after currency devaluation growing by 84pc, 80pc and 40pc respectively during March, April and May this year.
In May 2018 the industry despatched 3.919m tonnes against 3.708m tonnes in May 2017. In May 2018 the domestic despatches in the Northern region were 2.812m tonnes against 2.811m tonnes in May 2017 whereas, despatches in the Southern region amounted to 0.669m tonnes in May 2018 against 0.588m tonnes in the same month last year.
Exports from North were 0.224m tonnes last month against 0.219m tonnes in May 2017. Exports from the South stood at 0.215m tonnes in May 2018 against 0.090m tonnes in May last year.
A spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said local cement consumption would once again rise after Ramazan while continuous increase in exports is a welcome sign for the industry. However, he said that the major factor behind rise in exports is falling value of the rupee against the greenback that improved competitiveness of cement sector in the global markets.
He urged the government to withdraw the recent increase in Federal Excise Duty (FED) which would hurt local consumption as this would have an impact of Rs 15 per bag, thereby raising cost of construction.