Cement dispatches increased 7.83% and reached 4.275 million tons in May 2024 against 3.965 million tons during the same month of last year.

According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), local cement sales of the industry were 3.357 million tons during May 2024 compared to 3.432 million tons in May 2023, showing a decline of 2.17%.

Exports, however, increased by a massive 72.16% as volumes surged from 533,215 tons in May 2023 to 917,962 tons in May 2024.

In May, north-based cement mills dispatched 2.915 million tons, recording an increase of 1.36% against 2.876 million tons in May 2023. South-based mills sold 1.359 million tons of cement, up 24.91% compared to dispatches of 1.089 million tons in May 2023.

North-based cement mills supplied 2.753 million tons to domestic markets, showing a decline of 0.44% against 2.765 million tons in May 2023. South-based mills dispatched 604,672 tons to local markets, which was 9.33% less than the dispatches of 666,867 tons during May 2023.

Exports from north-based mills increased 46.11% to 162,929 tons in May 2024 compared to 111,511 tons in May 2023. Exports from the south increased 79.04% to 755,033 tons from 421,704 tons last year.

During the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, total cement dispatches (domestic and exports) came in at 41.730 million tons, which were 3% higher than 40.516 million tons during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

Domestic sales during the 11-month period were 35.097 million tons against 36.526 million tons during the same period of last year, reflecting a reduction of 3.91%.

Exports were 66.26% higher as volumes increased to 6.633 million tons during 11 months of FY24 compared to 3.990 million tons during the same period of last fiscal year.

North-based mills dispatched 28.931 million tons domestically, registering a reduction of 3.31% compared to dispatches of 29.921 million tons during July-May FY23.

Exports from the north increased 38.47% to 1.349 million tons during July-May FY24 compared to 0.974 million tons during the same period of last year.

An APCMA spokesman said that a healthy rise in exports was a good omen, however, the industry was largely dependent on domestic markets to reach its potential.

“It is a matter of serious concern that the cement sector continues to post negative growth in local dispatches for the ninth straight month. We are hopeful that the government will give due attention to the concerns of the cement industry in the upcoming budget,” he said.

“We have an almost one-third idle capacity which, if utilised, can bring our operational costs down and provide relief to end-consumers.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2024.

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