Pakistan's domestic cement consumption reached 35 million tons in 2016, up from 30 million tons in 2015, according to a report published by Global Cement. Using the latest census population of 207 million, it works out to about 170 Kg per person consumption. The increase is driven by a combination of CPEC-related infrastructure projects as well as commercial and housing construction.
While domestic demand for cement is continuing its upward trend, the exports have suffered a major decline. In 2009, the exports hit a high of over 11 million tons, constituting 34% of all cement dispatches at the time. Since then, they have fallen to below 6 million tons or 14% of all sales.
Pakistan cement industry is booming. There is some disagreement about where the biggest demand is coming from. The CEO of Thatta Cement says it is 60% infrastructure and 40% housing but others say it is 70% housing and 30% infrastructure.
Pakistan's 11 cement manufacturers are investing a combined $2.25 billion to add new production capacity of 30 million tons a year by 2019, according to a media report attributed to the State Bank of Pakistan.
The year 2017 is also proving to be yet another boom year for cement industry. Cement sales have soared by 15% year-on-year to 10.3 million tons in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-18 that ended in September 2017, up from 9 million tons in the same period in 2016.
Pakistan is among the world’s fastest-growing construction markets. A BMI report published earlier in 2017 forecasts an average 12 percent growth annually for the next five years. Cement capacity utilization increased to 88 percent in the 10 months through April, the highest in 11 years, according to Bloomberg.
Beyond the construction industry boom, Pakistan's large scale manufacturing (LSM) sector is also soaring by double digits. Both of these sectors are important drivers for job growth in the country.
Although production was driven mostly by strong domestic demand, the exports in July-Sept 2018 also increased nearly 11% over the same period last year.
Among the notable sub-sectors driving strong LSM growth in July-August 2017 are: Tractors 115%, motorcycles 28.3%, deep freezers 16.2%, air-conditioners 26.8%, electric-fans 22.4%, electric motors 17.3% and electric meters 18.3%, and switchgear 20.8%.
Significant improvement in the country's security situation is helping restore confidence of investors, businesses and consumers who are pushing economic growth in Pakistan to new highs. The fast pace of execution of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects is at least partly responsible for it.