The cement exports witnessed an increase of 0.59 percent during the first half of financial year 2021-22 on a year-on-year basis; however, higher coal prices expose manufacturers to witness squeezed margins and negative volumetric growth in coming months. According to the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the cement exports remained $143.768 million during July-December (2021-22) against the exports of $142.924 million during July- December 2020-21. In terms of quantity, the exports of cement, however, dipped by 9.33 percent by going down from 4,325,060 metric tonnes to 3,921,554 metric tonnes, according to the data. Meanwhile, on a year-to-year basis, the exports of cement increased by 44.28 percent during the month of December 2021 as compared to the same month of last year. The exports of cement from the country during December 2021 were recorded at US $ 27.776 million against the exports of US $ 19.251 million in December 2020. On a month-on-month basis, exports of cement declined by 45.04 percent during December 2021 when compared to the exports of US $ 50.542 million in November 2021, the PBS data revealed. The coal prices are moving on an unstable ground which will expose cement manufacturers to witness squeezed margins and negative volumetric growth in months to come, a report said. The sudden spike in demand for coal as a result of the rebound in economic activities after a terrible slowdown due to Covid-19 lockdowns across the globe disrupted the supply chain that ultimately pushed local manufacturers into the troubled zone. However, the buoyant cement demand can come to a rescue on the back of housing schemes, dams construction, and road infrastructure especially during the phase of the upcoming election campaign. It is expected that domestic demand may reach 52 million tonnes by next fiscal year, translating into 8.4pc percent growth from 2020-21, while local dispatches are likely to grow by 5 percent by fiscal year 2022-23.