LAHORE - The cement prices are likely to go down significantly on retail level on the back of drastic decline in coal prices globally and following a huge stock, which left with the cement cartel, as the India has recently cancelled an order of over 25,000 tons of cement, it was learnt on Wednesday. Currently, a bag of cement is selling at Rs 355 on average at retail level, which may decrease to Rs 340 per bag due to a hefty stock of cement bags after cancellation of Pakistani cement shipment by Indian importers, market sources expressed their expectations. Builders and contractors were constantly lamenting that development and construction work was on declining trend in the country due to monopoly of the cement manufacturers as the rates of it had not been reduced as much as the oil prices were declined in global market. They had asked the government to intervene and take steps for the reduction of the prices of cement from Rs330 to Rs220 per bag, as both the commodities have a direct link with oil prices, which have seen a steep fall during past months. All Pakistan Contractors Association (APCA), stated that government should take immediate notice of the current prices of cement, as the price of the crude oil has been reduced from $ 147 to $ 36 per barrel in the international market but the rates of and cement have not been reduced proportionately. Cement sector's market capitalization plunged by 71% during 2008 (based on JS universe companies representing 50% of the total cement sector. Thus, the sector underperformed the market by 12%. The sector's depressed profitability during FY08 and then declining local sales in Jul-Dec 2008 resulted in negative sentiments for the cement sector. Experts said that after witnessing an average annual growth rate of 16% in last five years (2003-2007), local sales depicted a fall of 6% in the calendar year 2008. The first half started off well as cement dispatches during Jan-Jun 2008 were up 4%. However, inflationary and economic pressures came upon harsh after Jun and local cement sales declined 16% during Jul-Dec 2008. Exports, on the other hand, have been robust increasing by 96% during the year mainly due to regional demand from Middle East and Africa.