ISLAMABAD: The cement sector posted a negative growth of 19.41 per cent in July 2021 as the total cement despatches in the summer month were 3.899 million tons against 4.838 million tons during the same month last year.
The fall in demand could be attributed to monsoon rains during the month and the stoppage of construction activities due to Eidul Azha.
According to details, domestic despatches dropped from 3.953 million tons in July 2020 to 3.446 million tons in July 2021, a reduction of 12.8 per cent. Exports also showed a substantial reduction of 49 per cent as the country exported only 452,776 tons during July 2021 compared to 885,255 tons during July 2020.
Analysis of zone-wise demand reveals that a major decline in domestic cement consumption was in the Northern regions of the country where only 2.892 million tons of cement was consumed in July 2021 compared to 3.435 million tons in July 2020, showing a decrease of 15.81 per cent. However, the exports from Northern regions increased by 10.42 per cent to 135,618 tons in July 2021 from 122,823 tons in July 2020.
Furthermore, cement factories based in the South despatched 554,442 tons of cement for domestic markets during July 2021 which was 7.07 per cent higher than the despatches of 517,850 tons in the corresponding month of last fiscal year. The cement exports from the South experienced a serious dip of a whopping 58.40 per cent as the quantities dropped to 317,159 tons this year from 762,432 tons in July 2020.
A spokesman from the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) expressed concerns about the slide in demand, however, he was quite hopeful that the industry will regain its growth momentum in the coming months due to pro-government policies related to the construction sector.
“The government’s sponsored Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects are in full swing under which development funds are released upfront,” he added.