Pakistan exported 1.573Mt of cement and earned US$43m in March 2011 compared to 588,386t at US$22.5m in February 2011. This reflects a huge MoM growth of 167% and 91% in terms of quantity and dollar value, respectively. Afghanistan was the largest buyer of cement from Pakistan during this period.
However, if compared with March 2010 data, when Pakistan exported 1.096Mt at $39.634m, the export of cement in March 2011 saw a YoY increase of only 43.5% and 8.5% in terms of quantity and dollar value, respectively.
On a negative note, cumulative exports of cement from Pakistan during first nine months of 2011 between July and March decreased to 7.244Mt at US$314.9m, compared to 7.769Mt at US$360.7m in the corresponding months. This shows a decrease of 6.8% and 12.7% in terms of quantity and value over corresponding months in the last full year (2009-10).
Industry experts observed that the export of cement by sea to regional countries, excluding Iraq and African markets, will continue to be under pressure due to oversupply and slack construction activities. However, cement exports to Afghanistan have increased by 16% during this financial year, which will hopefully further rise going forward because of expected development in the country and the natural geographic advantage of Pakistan.
An All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers’ Association (APCMA) spokesman said the export of cement from Pakistan to Afghanistan could increase significantly if the government fixes the maximum export price at US$55/t instead of existing US$42/t, which will still be less than to other countries.
An APCMA spokesman also urged the government to urgently and permanently resolve the issue of ‘Gumrak’, a bureaucratic procedure which is hampering exports. Local custom authorities demand the original Gumrak document, an Afghan Customs document allowing the duty drawback on cement exports to Afghanistan, even though the original document is retained by Afghani authorities and only a photocopy is available to the exporters.