The cement sales growth during January 2005 slows down to 7.6 per cent because of winter rains, slowing down construction activity and holidays on account of Eid-ul Azha. The figures released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) indicates that cement demand growth during January 2005 has slowed down to 7.6 per cent as against the over 20 percent growth witnessed during most of the first six months of 2004-05.
According to industry sources, this slowdown is seasonal and mainly attributable to the Eid holidays during the month, which generally leads to a decline in construction activities. Industry cement sales during January stood at 1.23Mt where the break up was local sales and exports amounting to 1.17Mt and approximately 53,000t respectively.
Exports to Afghanistan have also decelerated markedly on shipment delays and closure of routes on the back of the winter season. Overall demand growth during July - January 2005 is up to 21.5 percent to 9.04Mt as against 7.43Mt during the corresponding period of last year.
Tanvir Abid, head of research at Live Securities said that the cement demand in the North and South cement zones depicts a diverse trend. During January, sales in the North zone were up 13 percent to 0.974Mt. On the other hand, sales in the South zone at 0.249Mt depicted an 8.5 per cent dip. Taking a look at the year-to-date figures (since July 2004), local cement dispatches have soared 19 percent to 8.2Mt and exports are 53 per cent higher to 0.83Mt.
Industry capacity utilisation during FY05 has stood at 86.5 percent, considerably higher as compared to nearly 75 percent last year. Among the leaders, the utilisation levels of D G Khan Cement, Bestway Cement and Lucky Cement surpassed the cent percent levels to respectively 103 per cent, 109 percent and 103 per cent.