Pakistani cement sales jump

Pakistani cement sales jump
Published: 05 July 2004

KARACHI: Cement sales have recorded a growth of 20 percent on year-on-year basis, as sales exceeded 13.6Mt during the last fiscal year. According to the data compiled by Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), export of cement went up 158 percent year-on-year basis to 1.1Mt in the 2003-04 fiscal year. Total cement sales during the month of June 2004 were 1.3Mt, which is 38 per cent higher compared to similar period last year, the data of the association said. Cement sales in the local market increased 14 per cent to 12.5Mt during the period under review compared to 11Mt during 2002-03 fiscal year.

Analysts said country¹s cement sector would gain strength in coming months because of recently announced incentives for the construction and housing sector in federal budget for 2004-05 fiscal year. The government is also asking banks to give cheap loans to the construction industry in country, they added.

The cement sector utilised its 80 per cent capacity during the last fiscal year, as earlier it was working on 65 percent utilization capacity. ³The cement sector is booming in the country only because of increasing export to UAE and its adjoining countries,² said Khalid Iqbal Siddiqui, analyst at Invest Capital and Securities, a local brokerage house.

³Cement dispatches are likely to reach 14.8Mt to 15Mt during 2004-05 fiscal year,² Mr Siddiqui predicted in his report. But Ali Sibtain, an analyst at Elixir Securities, said the utilization level is expected to be short lived, as the onset of the monsoon season would curtail the cement utilization levels.

Industry officials said cement demand is coming from UAE and that three companies have started exports from June. Attock Cement Company, Lucky Cement and others companies are receiving enquiries from abroad especially the UAE.

³The government of Oman has imposed a complete ban on export of local cement to UAE in June 2004, as such export was creating a kind of dearth in Oman, which is supporting cement prices there,² the official said.