Pakistan cement sales up 25 per cent in July-March

Pakistan cement sales up 25 per cent in July-March
Published: 04 April 2008

Pakistani cement sales surged 25 percent in the first nine months of the 2007/08 (July-June) fiscal year, compared with the previous year, driven by growing construction demand, an industry official said on Thursday.

Cement sales during the period totalled 21.9Mt, compared with 17.5Mt sold in the same period last year, said Shahzad Ahmed, secretary-general of the private All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers

"March to June is the peak demand season for cement as local construction activities resume after the winter season," said Bilal Hameed, an analyst at brokers JS Global Capital.

The 2007/08 budget earmarked a record 520 billion rupees for the public sector, which means more construction as development spending is channelled into sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

During the July-March period, cement exports from Pakistan jumped 140 per cent to a record 5.16Mt, compared with 2.15Mt shipped a year earlier.

Pakistani cement manufacturers have capitalised on a shortage in the region and started exporting to India and analysts said they were now looking for new markets.

Pakistan also exports to Afghanistan and the Middle East.

In March, Dubai said it decided to lift custom duties on cement and steel until further notice to control rising costs of building materials, which analysts said would benefit Pakistani cement makers as the country’s cement is relatively cheap.