ISLAMABAD: The impact of construction package announced by the government is yet to be seen, as domestic cement uptake declined by a massive 37.63pc to 2.27 million tonnes in May 2020, as compared to 3.64 million tonnes in May 2019.
Meanwhile, cement exports from the country also decreased by 24.81pc, from 0.483 million tonnes in May 2019 to 0.363 million tonnes in May 2020.
According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), cement despatches clocked in at 2.63 million tonnes in May 2020 for both export and local consumption, as against the despatches of 4.12 million tonnes during the corresponding month of last fiscal, showing a decrease of 36.12pc.
The decline in cement despatches was mainly due to the slowdown in construction activity caused by Covid-19 outbreak, the holy month of Ramzan and Eid holidays.
Domestic cement consumption in the northern region was recorded at 2.001 million tonnes, as against 3.05 million tonnes in May 2019, while consumption in the southern zone of the country declined to 0.269 million tonnes from 0.589 million tonnes in May 2019.
Similarly, the exports from the north declined to 7,520 tonnes during the month under review, as compared to 0.164 million tonnes last May. From the south, which is the hub of cement exports, there was a nominal increase in exports, from 0.319 million tonnes in May 2019 to 0.356 million tonnes in May 2020.
During the first eleven months of FY20, total cement despatches were recorded at 43.189 million tonnes, as against 43.327 million tonnes during the same period of the last year, posting a nominal decline of 0.32pc. Domestic consumption during the period under review declined by 2.72pc to 36.13 million tonnes from 37.14 million tonnes last year.
On the other hand, cement exports increased by 14.07pc in 11MFY20, from 6.188 million tonnes last year to 7.059 million tonnes during the period under review.
Domestic despatches by the north-based mills stood at 30.94 million tons during July-May 2019-20, as against 29.61 million tonnes during the same period of last year, posting a less than anticipated growth of 4.49pc. However, exports from the north declined by 19.24pc during the period under review, from 2.38 million tonnes to 1.924 million tonnes.
Despatches from south-based mills were recorded at 5.18 million tonnes during the first 11 months of this fiscal, declining by 31.09pc from 7.53 million tonnes during the same period last year. Exports, however, registered a healthy increase of 34.92pc during the period under review, from 3.81 million tonnes last year to 5.13 million tonnes.
“The cement sector has been in dire straits for the last few months. It posted a growth of 31pc in domestic cement consumption until February this year, however, since then, there has constant decline; -16.69pc in March, -18.97pc April and now almost double in May,” said the APCMA spokesperson.