Cement industry optimistic for growth in sales

KARACHI: Cement despatches to domestic markets during the month of April 14 increased by 7.2 percent to 2.539 million tons compared with 2.368 million tons during same month last year. Its exports during April 2014 were 672,000 tons against 754,000 tons during April 2013 showing decline of 11%. Total despatches during April 2014 were 3.21 million tons compared to 3.12 million tons during same month last year showing increase of 2.8 percent.
During the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, cement industry despatched 21.3 million tons in local markets posting a growth of 2.7 percent compared with local despatches during the same period of last fiscal year.
The exports from the country declined by 3.39 percent to 6.68 million tons compared with exports during the first ten months of last year. The overall situation during first 10 months of current fiscal year showed a growth of 1.17% compared to the same period of last fiscal year as total despatches increased to 27.986 million tons against 27.664 Million tons from July 12 to April, 13.
Cement despatches touched an all time high of 3.21 million tons during April 2014 raising the industry hopes of a long awaited turnaround. The sector has achieved capacity utilization of 75.21 percent during first 10 months of current fiscal year that is the highest level achieved during last five years and pundits are expecting that it will be increased to 80 percent by the end of June 2014.
The exuberance in the sector is based on some encouraging revival in construction sector and public sector development programs. “With funding released by the World Bank for Dassu power project and many power sector projects coming up we see a healthy growth in cement sector,” said a spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association. He said though the overall increase in the cement despatches is only 1.17 percent but the domestic sales have continued to increase which has compensated the regular decline in cement exports. He said buoyancy in domestic market is a great relief for the sector as the capacities were increased basically to cater the local demands.
The spokesman hoped that the government would act positively to the suggestions given by the APCMA in the upcoming budget. He said while formulating these suggestions, supreme national interest was kept in mind. He said construction sector is the most potent accelerator of growth and employment and is the integral part of every construction activity that boosts 42 allied industries also.

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