KARACHI - Pakistan Steel Mills has shown a sharp decline in its sale of steel during July to November 2008, in July 2008 its sale was Rs 5026.83 million which has dropped to Rs 1,576.89 million in November 2008, said Chairman Pakistan Steel, Mueen Aftab Shaikh during a press briefing. While providing information about the low sale, he said that low sale of Pakistan Steel Mills is due to the fact that the country has been facing economic slowdown. The international market is also facing economic recession due to which iron and steel products showed declining trend. The prices of POL products were high during the mentioned period. Electricity and gas prices also hiked up. Due to these facts 60% re-rolling and pipe manufacturing industries faced shut down. "Another reason for the low sale of Pakistan Steel is the fact that we have lost market in Afghanistan due to the war on terror. The export of steel products to Afghanistan was of $200 million previously. The government has also reduced it's public sector development programs. Due to this the steel industry suffers badly. Pakistan steel is the major supplier of steel for all these projects. This has reduced the sales of Pakistan steel significantly," Shaikh added. Meanwhile, the monthly expenditure of Pakistan steel has sustained up to Rs 4.5 billion. In such serious financial losses, the company is not taking any financial benefit from government. The banks are also not giving Letters of Credit to Pakistan steel as the industry can not meet the demand of 100% advance payment by the banks. Ha added that in order to enhance the sales of Pakistan steel the company has reduced the prices of steel products in the local market. Pakistan steel is supplying 20% of steel out of total demand in the local market. It has reduced 13% to 29% of it's prices. This reduction is due to defect that the prices of steel has sharply declined in international market. "The company has also reduced it's import of raw material. 84% of the raw material was imported previously. Now, we have taken steps to promote local production of steel and are now taking raw material from our local market which is cheaper then the imported one," Shaikh added. "Prices of contracted raw material are indexed on every first of April each year. For this region indexation happens through Japan. The prices will fall this year as there is downward trend being observed during past few months. During the mention period sharp decline in production of steel is also observed. This is attributed to low steel sale by the company," he further said. On a question regarding the appointment of the board of directors the chairman said that the issue is in the hands of Prime Minister and the ministry of production. The issue of promotions of junior officers would be solved as soon as the board of directors are announced and the meeting is held under that board. On the question regarding enhancement project of Pakistan steel he said that previously it was for three billion ton. Now, we are viewing 5 billion tons expansion project with the help of China.