Owing to unpredictable economic and political conditions, cement sales remained weak last month and between July and April 2021-22 (10MFY22), according to All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).

The sector shipped 3.37 million tonnes of local cement in April 2022, down 17 per cent from 4.06 million tonnes in April 2021, while exports dropped 82.15 per cent from 877,163 tonnes in April 2021 to 156,613 tonnes in April 2022.

As a result, overall cement sales including local and exports plummeted by 28.6 per cent in April 2022 to 3.52 million tonnes, down from 4.94 million tonnes in April 2021, as per APCMA data.

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North-based cement mills sold 2.8 million tonnes in domestic markets in April 2022, down 17 per cent from 3.3 million tonnes in April 2021. Exports from northern mills declined 75.22 per cent in April 2021, from 250,072 tonnes to 61,971 tonnes.

According to data from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), banks granted Rs180 billion in housing loans in 10MFY22, with Rs57 billion disbursed over the same time. Housing loan applications of Rs409 billion had been received by banks.

The political and economic instability of March had begun to deter investors in the construction industry, as seen by the APCMA’s domestic April sales figures.

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Moreover, high lending rates of 12.25 per cent effective April 7 and the risk of further rate hikes will impact construction activity, while consumers are already under pressure due to increased living costs, with the CPI for April at 13.37 per cent.

Owing to record high prices for steel bars, cement, and other construction supplies, people are also cautious to make new investments in building new homes.