LAHORE : The local manufacturers have slashed export price of cement to Afghanistan by around Rs300 per ton to keep their product intact in Afghan market as competition went high due to availability of cheaper cement there. As per industry sources, the cements exports to Afghanistan via Torkhum border had been halted due to the sufficient availability of cheaper Iranian cement in Kabul and surrounding regions. The dealers in Afghanistan were arguing to lower down the cement prices.

With a view to resume cement export to Kabul, the industry decided to cut down the rates of their product by about Rs300 per ton so that competitiveness of Pakistani cement in Afghan market could be increased.

Iranian cement replacing Pakistani product in Afghanistan

They said that declining trend of cement exports worried the manufacturers as the export to Afghanistan, the major purchaser of Pakistani products, plummeted owing to availability of cheaper Iranian cement. The industry said that energy crisis and constant hike in petroleum products have made its product uncompetitive even in neighbouring country which the main purchaser of cement from Pakistan.

Industry sources said that historically US sanctions on Iran have been an impediment for Iranian exports to penetrate in Afghanistan. This has allowed Pakistan to benefit with exports to the country growing at 4 year CAGR of 14 per cent. Afghanistan is still the steadiest market for the Pakistani cement industry but recent competition from Iran has somewhat capped the market share. Going forward, the last year pledge of $16 billion at an international donor conference as civilian aid for economic development of Afghanistan has bolstered construction activity in the country. Consequently, demand for Pakistani cement should have been reasonably steady in the long run.