LAHORE, : Following the tension between India and Pakistan, the cement exports from North region of the country, including Punjab and KPK, have registered a decline of 16 percent to 1.86 million tons in first 8 months period (July-Feb) of 2019 against 2.21 million tons of the same period of 2018.
According to the data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, in the month of Feb 2019, the exports from this Northern region mills also suffered 8.66 percent decline to 0.17 million tons against 0.18 million tons of last year Feb period. In the month of Jan 2019, the cement exports from North also declined by 16.71% to 1.69 million tons against same period of last year.
According to industry experts, the export of cement to India has been suspended due to a 200% increase in the import duty, as the Indian government had announced to de-list Pakistan from the status of Most-Favoured Nation. They said that Indian market accounts for a quarter of Pakistan’s total cement exports. In the last financial year, Pakistan sold around $23 million worth of cement to India.
They said that several exporters have started recalling their shipments. They said cement exports to India were set to thrive further following the Indian government’s decision of allocating Rs.50 billion rehabilitation fund for Kerala, which was devastated by floods in 2018. As a result, both price and demand were on the rise in India, they added. However, in present political tension, Pakistan exports will remain in jeopardy till the next government takes control of India by June this year. According to experts, Pakistan’s annual cement export to India hovers between $70-80 million.
According to the data, the mills in the Southern region of the country, including Sindh and Balochistan, performed better during July-Feb 2019, as the exports from this region increased by 232 percent to 2.79 million tons.
According to the data, the buoyancy was also seen in cement exports in Jan 2019, before the start of tension between India and Pakistan when exports were increased by 67.27%. The industry exported 0.58 million tons of cement in Jan 2019 against exports of mere 0.35 million tons during Jan 2018.
During first seven months of this fiscal year from July-Jan 2019 period the exports were 4.14 million tons which was 50.47% higher than the 2.77 million tons exported in the corresponding period of last year. During July-Jan 2019, the exports from South increased by a whopping 239.89% to 2.45 million tons.
The industry stakeholders have appealed the government to support this important sector by minimizing duties and taxes, especially on exports to help the industry earn foreign exchange in this critical situation.