Pakistan’s cement industry is facing weaker dispatches issues due to the unstable business and economic situation prevailing in the country. Even the Pakistan stock exchange witnessed a several losses on 9 May 2022, due to further devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against US dollar, uncertainty regarding debt repayments and depletion of foreign exchange reserve, leading investors to remain sidelined from the market as they await a positive trigger by IMF revival programme.
The total cement dispatches in April 2022 declined by 28.6 per cent to 3.52Mt against 4.94Mt in the same month of last fiscal year. The breakdown reveals that local cement dispatches were 3.37Mt compared to 4.06Mt in April 2021, which showed a reduction of 17.1 per cent. While exports of cement and clinker also suffered a massive decline of 82.2 per cent as the volumes reduced from 877,163t in April 2021 to 156,613t in April 2022.
Experts say the holy month of Ramadan, when the construction industry slows down, and political unrest during the last two months, have affected the local dispatches. The exports have also remained thin during the period.
An official of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) emphasised that the industry needs immediate relief from the government to reduce the cost of production and increase its sales in domestic and international markets. He urged the government to address industry issues in the coming budget and formulate policies to increase capacity utilisation.
During the 10MFY22, total cement dispatches (domestic and exports) were 44.3Mt, which is 8.2 per cent lower than 48.27Mt during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Further analysis indicates that domestic uptake reduced by 1.8 per cent to 39.5Mt from 40.24Mt during July-April 2021. In contrast, exports during the same period declined by a massive 40.2 per cent to 4.8Mt from 8.02Mt in July-April 2021.