LAHORE -  The cement industry has reported a domestic sale of 29.871 million tons during first ten months of this fiscal year. During the same period of last year cement despatched was 31.901 million tons out of which the domestic consumption was 26.973 million tons and exports were 4.928 million tons.

During the July-April 2017 period, the domestic consumption of cement surged by 10.74 percent while the exports declined by 18.63 percent. Because of this massive decline in exports the growth in cement despatches increased by only 6.21 percent. The data released by APCMA reveals that in the month of April the cement units despatched 3.576 million tons, out of which 2.734 million tons cement was despatched in the Northern part of the country and 0.586 million tons was despatched in the Southern part of the country.

During the month of April 2017, capacity utilisation of the industry remained 92 percent. During April 2017, the domestic consumption of cement surged by 9.53 percent while the exports declined by 50.75 percent. The exports from mills based in north were 181,911 tons and from mills based in south was 0.074 million tons only. Total export of cement to Afghanistan in the month of April 2017 was 0.045 million tons, whereas export to India and other countries was 0.131 and 0.081 million tons, respectively.

The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association spokesman said the buoyancy in the domestic market is a good omen for the cement industry. However, he said, it is not prudent to ignore the sharp decline in exports. He said exports at one time peaked above 10 million tons which has progressively declined to almost half. He said the industry is operating on excess capacity and is regularly adding new units to keep abreast with the expected increase in construction activities.