LAHORE: The country’s total cement despatches clocked in at 4.73 million tonnes in January 2021, as against 4.07 million tonnes in January 2020.
According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), local despatches increased 23.67pc to 4.03 million tonnes in January 2021 compared to 3.26 million tonnes in January 2020. However, exports dropped 14.09pc to 694,934 tonnes from 808,874 tonnes.
During the month under review, north-based factories despatched 3.31 million tonnes of cement to the local market, depicting a healthy increase of 23.48pc when compared with 2.68 million tonnes in January 2020, while the southern mills despatched 724,281 tonnes cement for local consumption, which was 24.59pc higher than 581,316 tonnes cement despatched in January 2020.
Exports from the northern mills increased 25.36pc to 233,404 tonnes in January 2021 (186,185 tonnes in January 2020), whereas exports from the southern mills decreased 25.88pc to 461,530 tonnes (622,689 tonnes in Jan 2020).
Overall, total cement despatches (domestic and exports) during the first seven months (July-Jan) of the ongoing fiscal year (FY21) clocked in at 33.36 million tonnes, which was 15.77pc more than the corresponding period of FY20.
Local despatches increased 16.98pc to 27.65 million tonnes in July-Jan FY21 from 23.63 million tonnes in July-Jan FY20. Exports also increased from 5.186 million tonnes in 7MFY20 to 5.71 million tonnes in 7MFY21, showing a growth of 10.23pc.
During the months under review, north-based mills despatched 23.54 million tonnes cement for domestic consumption, which was 17.18pc higher compared to 20.09 million tonnes in 7MFY20. Exports from the north, however, dropped 10.09pc to 1.44 million tonnes, when compared with 1.61 million tonnes last year.
On the other hand, southern mills despatched 4.11 million tonnes in the domestic market during July-Jan FY21, which was 15.86pc higher than 3.54 million tonnes despatched last year. Exports from the south also registered an increase of 19.35pc, from 3.57 million tonnes to 4.27 million tonnes.
“Cement uptake has reached historic high in the domestic market but the increase in its main inputs has become a major challenge for the industry,” an APCMA spokesman said, adding that coal rates are constantly going up in the global market which was why the cement sector was facing major cost increase.
Moreover, hike in diesel and petrol prices for the fifth time in the past three months resulted in an increase in transportation cost, he stated.
“There is a declining trend in exports in the last three months as cement manufacturers are losing competitiveness due to high fuel and energy costs,” he said, adding that fuel and energy were the two major inputs of the cement industry.