Cement sales in Pakistan stood at 9.975Mt during the first six months of the current financial year, rising by 25 per cent compared to the same period of last fiscal.
According to figures released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, the cement-making companies of the country exported 1.6Mt of cement during this period, which was higher by 37 per cent from the exports of last financial year. Total sales of cement companies mounted to over 11 million tonnes.
In December 2006, local sales of cement stood at 1.87Mt, which was up by 33 per cent compared to the corresponding month of 2005. Total sales during the month including export stood at 1.977Mt, rising by 29 per cent from 1.528Mt of December 2005.
The export of cement has risen sharply in this financial year because of capacity expansion undertaken by the manufacturers. Although the sale of cement increased locally, the companies still had surplus stock to export. This export has helped many cement manufacturing units keep their profitability in a situation where historically low prices as a result of stiff competition have cut their margins.
The production capacity of cement companies has increased from 21Mt in 2005 to 28-29Mt in 2006 while the demand did not increase as per expectation. However, the sale of cement is likely to plunge in January and February, as a harsh winter has set in. Traditionally, the sale of cement declines in these months, as construction activities stop.