Cement sales volume has dropped nine per cent in April compared with the past month to 1.28Mt, according to data released here Thursday by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA). According to the data, the reason behind the fall is said to be Œseasonal decline¹ as the usage of cements in Northern Areas has shrunk coupled with less export also. But total cement dispatches during the current fiscal year (July-April 2004) has increased 16 percent to 11.1Mt.
³A reduction of cement sales in April, as compared to March, is normal and this time again it was due to recent rains in the north region that has subdued construction activity,² said Abdul Rasheed, analyst at Invest Capital and Securities, a local brokerage house. Moreover, there has also been shortage of labor in construction sector due to seasonal labor demand from agriculture sector, he claimed. Going forward, local cement quota is expected to remain 70-80 percent for the remaining two months of fiscal year 2004, Mr Rasheed said. He expects cement dispatches to reach our revised target of 13.5Mt for fiscal year 2004. ³We also expect some incentives for the sector in the upcoming budget.² A report prepared by AKD Securities, a local brokerage house, the industry could not sustain the high capacity utilization momentum primarily due to high steel and property prices.
The analysts, however, expects 92 per cent overall (domestic 80 percent and export 12 percent) for the next two months, which means the full year growth in volume would be 23 percent.