After a continuous growth of over nine per cent since November 2009, the Indian cement industry registered its lowest growth rate for the second half of the current financial year in the month of February 2010.
Experts expected a double-digit increase in February, but the industry only managed a 6.34 per cent growth in the month against 8.3 per cent growth in the previous year. Even on a month-on-month (MoM) basis, the growth is half of January’s 12.8 per cent rise.
Overall dispatches stood at 17.11Mt against 16.09Mt in the corresponding month last year. So far, during the current financial year, after September, February has proved to be the second poorest month in volume growth. Moreover, on the production side, the growth fell to eight per cent.
Hari Mohan Bangur, managing director of north-based Shree Cement, said, “It is a short-term phenomenon. Primarily due to Holi [festival], labourers were unavailable due to which construction activities took a hit. Else, the demand for cement is robust and there is no mismatch in supply and demand.”
A top official in Ambuja Cement agreed with Bangur on the labour issue but added that because of uncertainty on the excise structure, less buying in the second half of the month could have also had an impact on the industry’s growth.