Cement producers will be hit by the country’s demonetisation programme and higher pet coke prices, according to ratings agency, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).
According to Ind-Ra, cement production is likely to grow by 4 per cent in the 2017 fiscal (FY17). This is down from its earlier estimate of 4-6 per cent, as the real estate and construction sectors bear the brunt of the economic impacts of demonetisation, which saw the government ban higher denomination currency notes.
Lower cement output is expected to be focused in the November-December 2016 period, Ind-Ra said. Production growth was just 0.5 per cent in November, compared to 6.2 per cent in October and 4.3 per cent on average between April and November. Prices have also fallen between Rs 15 and Rs 20 per bag.
In addition to weaker demand, Indian cement producers are having to deal with a rise in the cost of pet coke to around $60-70 per tonne from $40 per tonne at the start of FY17. More costly pet coke — as well as higher diesel prices — increases input costs for cement production, while lower demand limits the ability of cement companies to pass on higher prices to their customers, squeezing margins.
This could place smaller-scale producers under stress in coming quarters, according to Ind-Ra, although the outlook for bigger cement producers is more stable.