Pakistan cement sales jump 24 per cent, exports soar

Pakistan cement sales jump 24 per cent, exports soar
Published: 03 January 2008

Pakistani cement sales jumped 24 per cent in the first half of fiscal 2007/08 from a year earlier, driven by growing construction demand at home and abroad, an industry official and an analyst told Reuters on Wednesday.  
 
Sales totalled 13.9Mt for the six months to December, compared with 11.18Mt in the same period of 2006, said Shahzad Ahmed, secretary-general of the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association Pvt Ltd.  
 
Exports of cement soared 149 per cent to 2.99Mt from the 1.20Mt shipped a year earlier.  
 
"The rise can be attributed to increasing local and export demand due to rising construction activities and regional cement shortages," said Bilal Hameed, an analyst at JS Global Capital.  
 
Cement demand is expected to rise further as the 2007/08 budget has earmarked a record 520 billion rupees ($8.45 billion) for the public sector, analysts said.  
 
Pakistani cement manufacturers have capitalised on a shortage in the region and have started exporting to India. Pakistan already exports to the Middle East and Afghanistan.  
 
But cement sales for December fell 9.5 percent to 1.9Mt from the same month in 2006.  
 
"The decline is due to fewer working days in December 2007 as compared with December 2006 because of Eid and the political turmoil," said Hameed from JS Global, referring to the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha on Dec. 21.  
 
Exports rose to 0.4Mt in December from 0.21Mt in December 2006.