LAHORE- The cement exports have registered a growth of just 1.77percent from 4.66 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 4.75 million tonnes during 2017-18-inching up first time after nine years.
According to data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers’ Association (APCMA ), the country exported 4.7 million tonnes cement in fiscal year 2017-18 after a long time, as it was declining since 2008-09. Even in the first seven months of 2017-18 the exports were declining steeply. The turnaround started in February this year with a growth of 18.41 percent followed by massive jumps of 84.90 and 81.39 percent in March and April and then by 41.88 percent in May and 15.33 percent in June 2018. It was because of this massive growth in last five months of last fiscal that the negative trend of first seven months turned into a positive export growth of 1.77 percent.
In the month of June, the total cement dispatches were 2.979 million tonnes. Out of this, local dispatches in the North were 2.158 million tonnes against 1.897 million tonnes in June 2017. Cement dispatches in Southern half amounted to 0.423 million tonnes against 0.485 million tonnes in June 2017. The exports of cement from North based mills amounted to 0.18 million tonnes against 0.22 million tonnes in June 2017 and from South based mills was 0.215 million tonnes against 0.122 million tonnes in June 2017.
The industry experts said that reinvigorated increase in exports is a welcome sign for the industry and the decline in rupee value against dollar is finally restoring lost competitiveness of cement sector in the global markets.
However, the rising input cost, especially coal and fuel prices, is hurting the local industry.
(This news/article originally appeared in The Nation on July 8th, 2018)