KARACHI/LAHORE - Pakistan cement exports are all set to touch one billion dollar mark by 2010 after establishing its position as an exporter of cement and clinker in the region as cement manufacturers enhanced their role among competitors, industry sources told The Nation here Tuesday. The export of cement and clinker is expected to earn $425 million of foreign exchange by the end of current fiscal year i.e. 2007-08, followed by further impressive growth during upcoming fiscal years. The industry projections suggest that the cement industry exports would reach to $735 million by the end of 2008-09 and it will touch to $1.043 billion by the end of 2009-10, added the sources. Meanwhile, the cement export has shot up to $351.717 million dollars in eleven months of current fiscal 2007-08 over $125.427 million dollars of same period of last fiscal 2006-07 according to a data released on Tuesday. The robust growth had been witnessed both in value and quantity of export of cement during July 2007 to May 2008 and manufacturers earned billions of rupees just in eleven months of current fiscal. The official data showed that manufacturers had earned 180.42 per cent more amount in eleven months as total export reached to $351.717 million dollars in current fiscal over $125.427 million dollars of corresponding period of last fiscal while in local currency, the total cement export amounting to Rs22.018 billion over Rs7.601 billion of last year's export. Pakistan is exporting cement to Middle East, India, Afghanistan, Central Asian States, South Africa, Switzerland, Sudan, Egypt and Iraq at present. Some more destinations are likely to add up in next two years helping the cement industry to touch the level of one billion dollars accordingly. Over 145 percent growth registered in the quantity of export of cement in current fiscal as total 5.908 million tons cement had been exported in eleven months of FY2007-08 against 2.408 million tons of last FY2006-07. Attributing the overall shortage of the cement and high demand in Middle East and South African countries behind robust growth of cement, the analysts and manufacturers said the China, India and Egypt were the major exporters of cement but they restricted their export due to increasing demand of commodity in their own country. These three major exporters of cement are hardly meeting with the demand of commodity in local market, which create vacuum for Pakistani product in Middle-East, South African and other countries, analysts said. The cement manufacturers informed that Egypt and India had been banned the export of cement owing to meet increasing local demand which created shortage of commodity in the world. Even the Iran which was another major exporter, were importing the cement. There was a lot of demand of cement in Middle-East countries, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Iraq, manufacturers said and added that the substantial demand of cement persists in Saudi Arabia as presently construction of 5-6 mega cities projects were in hands. Once the Saudi Arabia was also major exporter of cement and it expanded its industry but local demand has increased which restricted the export of commodity, they said. The cement industry in Pakistan has expanded capacity from 17.8 million metric tones in 2003 to 37.2 million metric tones in 2007 and is expected to rise further to 50 million metric tones in 2010. However, they said that Indian authorities had been desperately eyeing to reduce local cement prices to curb rising inflation. For the purpose, they have in the past 6 months, imported around 300k tons of cement from Pakistan and are planning to double it to 600k tons by June 2008.    Export cement prices from Pakistan are still attractive at FOB price of US$70/ton (AED12.4/bag, Rs242 per bag). Adding average freight cost of US$5-10/ton will cause landed price of Pakistani cement to be around US$75-77/ton (AED14/bag, Rs260/bag). Thus, Pakistan cement is still competitive for export to India and UAE.