KARACHI: The cement sector continued its growth pattern at the start of this fiscal after the conclusion of its most successful year that ended on June 30, 2018. Despite the disruption caused by the General Elections, the sector posted 5.10 per cent growth in July.
The year 2018-19 started on a positive note for both the domestic and export sectors. In July 2018 the total cement despatches were recorded at 3.554 million tonnes that were 5.10 per cent higher than the despatches in July 2017 which was 3.382 million tonnes.
Despite a slowdown in economic and construction activities due to the elections, it did not dent the growth much, which depicts long-term sustainable growth for cement and construction sectors.
For the month of July 2018 exports increased by 9.25 per cent from 0.476 million tonnes in July 2017 to 0.520 million tonnes last month whereas the domestic despatches increased by 4.42 per cent from 2.906 million tonnes in July last year to 3.035 million tonnes in July 2018.
The growth in exports is consistent but is higher due to a smaller base of exports. The domestic growth, though lower in percentage, is higher in terms of volume due to higher domestic sales base.
The most pleasing aspect of the recent surge in cement sector is the resurgence of exports that had been going down during 2008-2017 periods but has started recovering steadily for the last few months and the trend continued in July 2018.
Growth in export by sea increased by 133.71 per cent from 0.144 million tonnes in July 2017 to 0.336 million tonnes last month to other countries which offset the decrease of exports to Afghanistan and India which decreased by around 44.88 per cent and 44.43 per cent respectively in the same duration, increasing overall exports by 9.25 per cent in July 2018 as compared to same month last year.