Pakistani shares rise; cement shares strong

Pakistani shares rise; cement shares strong
Published: 04 April 2007

Pakistani cement sales grew by 16.32 per cent in March from February, while exports during the month were up 12.12 per cent from the previous month, industry data showed on Tuesday. Cement sales for March were recorded at 2.28Mt, an increase of 25.27 per cent from March 2006 when they stood at 1.82Mt, data from the private All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association showed.

During the first nine months of the 2006/07 fiscal year (July-June), cement sales totalled 17.53Mt, up 31.31 per cent from the 13.35Mt sold in the year-ago period.

Exports of cement in March stood at 0.37Mt more than double the exports of only 0.18Mt in March last year.

Exports during July-March soared 85.34 per cent to 2.15Mt, compared with 1.16Mt sold overseas in the year-ago period.

Analysts said increased economic activities in Pakistan in recent years have resulted in more construction, thus pushing cement demand higher.

"Regional demand is also greater than supply, as cement plants in most countries, like India and those in the Middle East, are already running on full capacity," said Atif Malik, analyst at brokers JS Global Capital Ltd.

"This is why there has been a rise in exports from Pakistan as well," he said.

Analysts expect cement sales to remain higher in coming months on the back of higher demand for infrastructure activities by the government, which traditionally are at the peak in the April-June quarter.