LAHORE: The export of cement from the northern region of the country (Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) has registered a decline of 16pc (1.86 million tonnes) in the first eight months (July-Feb) of fiscal year 2018-19 (FY19), as compared to the export of 2.21 million tonnes during the same period of FY18.
According to the data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, in the month of Feb 2019, the export of cement from the northern mills witnessed a decline of 8.66pc (0.17 million tonnes) as compared to 0.18 million tonnes in February 2018.
In the month of Jan 2019, the cement exports from northern region also witnessed a decline of 16.71pc (1.69 million tonnes) as compared to the same month last year.
According to industry experts, the export of cement to India has been suspended due to a 200pc increase in the import duty, while the Indian government also announced to de-list Pakistan from the status of Most-Favoured Nation.
They said that the Indian market accounts for a quarter of Pakistan’s total cement exports, adding that Pakistan sold around $23 million worth of cement to India in the last financial year.
Sources said that several Pakistani exporters have started recalling their shipments. They said cement exports to India were set to thrive further following the Indian government’s decision to allocate Rs50 billion fund for the rehabilitation of Kerala, which was devastated by floods in 2018. “As a result, both price and demand were on the rise in India.”
However, in present political tension, Pakistani exports will remain in jeopardy till the next government takes control of India by June this year, they added.
According to experts, Pakistan’s annual cement export to India hovers between $70-80 million.
As per the data, the mills in the southern region of the country (Sindh and Balochistan) performed better during July 2018-Feb 2019, as the exports from this region increased by 232pc to 2.79 million tonnes.
The buoyancy was also seen in cement exports in Jan 2019, before the start of tension between India and Pakistan, as exports increased by 67.27pc. The industry exported 0.58 million tonnes of cement in Jan 2019 against the exports of a mere 0.35 million tonnes during Jan 2018.
During the first seven months (July-Jan) of this fiscal year, the exports were 4.14 million tonnes, which were 50.47pc higher than the 2.77 million tonnes exported in the corresponding period of last year. During July-Jan 2019, the exports from the south increased by a whopping 239.89pc to 2.45 million tonnes.
The industry stakeholders have appealed the government to support this important sector by minimizing duties and taxes, especially on exports, in order to help the industry earn foreign exchange for the country.