Cement sales fell 15 per cent in the first quarter of current fiscal depicting a decline of 4.88Mt. However, cement exports continued with healthy growth of 58 per cent, and remained 2.47Mt due to the cement shortage in the region.
Overall cement sales from July to September 2008 were up just one per cent to 7.35Mt compared to similar period last year, JS Research said.
Uncertain political and economic conditions of the country continue to hamper business activities. Fewer private sector development projects are causing local cement sales to decline. However, for exports, demand from Middle East and African countries remains buoyant increasing export sales for the cement industry of Pakistan.
In September 2008, local sales fell by 14 per cent Year on Year while exports increased 60 per cent Year on Year resulting in an overall sales increase of three per cent.
A cement dealer from Karachi said that through out the fasting month of Ramazan cement demand remains low. Similarly, low cement sales are expected in this week and week to come, as people are busy in Eid related activities.
Kamal Ahsan, General Manager, Al-Abbas Cement said two main reasons have affected cement sales. Firstly, cement sales always decline in Ramazan and secondly, the gloomy political conditions in the country. People of the country seem alienated of what is going on in the country and they are investing less as they feel the uncertainty at political fronts in the country.
Cement companies that are exporting cement are still in very good position and cement exports are on the rise, exports are expected to rise in future considering the robust global cement demand, said Ahsan.
Continuous uncertain economic conditions have eroded local sales, and low sales in September can also be attributed to the month of Ramadan during which construction activities usually slowdown.