Cement sales up 4 per cent in six months

KARACHI: The cement sales for the first half (July-December) of this fiscal year stood at 15.41 million tons, depicting an increase of 4 per cent over dispatches of 14.78 million tons in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The monthly sales figures were released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers (APCMA) on Monday.

Analyst Sarfraz Abbasi at Summit Capital Research commented that in addition to the growth in dispatches, the industry was set to benefit in 2012, by a persistent price hike. `So far price of a 40kg bag has jumped to Rs423 from Rs339 per bag in same period last year,` says the analyst.

Secondly, the price of coal, which happens to be a major fuel for the cement plants, was on the decline in international markets. Coal prices which were hovering around $123 per ton in September 2011, declined to $112 per ton in December.

The growth in dispatches in 1H12 was attributed to 8 per cent growth in local dispatches, which touched 10.95 million tons in 1HFY12, compared to 10.11m tons in the same period last year. Local dispatches rose by 6 per cent to 8.95 million tons in Northern zone and by 19 per cent to 2 million tons in southern zone.

Exports, however, declined 5 per cent to 4.4 million tons in the period under review over the exports at 4.68 million tons in the same time last year. The decline in exports was blamed on prolonged economic slowdown leading to lower construction activities.

Exports by sea suffered a fall of 23 per cent. Dispatches to Afghanistan and India, by road, registered a substantial increase of 10 per cent and 63 per cent respectively in 1HFY12.

On month-on-month basis, sales in local market in December`11 showed a sharp increase of 24 per cent to 2.04 million tons, compared to local dispatches of 1.65 million tons recorded in the month of November 11.

Similarly, Exports also registered growth of 5 per cent to 649 million tons in December over dispatches of 617 million tons in the earlier month.

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