Building materials rise in cost

Cement now selling at its highest ever price

Increases in cement and steel prices are likely to increase the cost of building materials.

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Increases in the prices of cement and steel are raising question marks in the building materials market about the reasons behind the hikes, with cement factories last month raising their prices by an average of $43 per tonne, meaning that cement is now sold to the end consumer at $100-115 per tonne, the highest-ever price.

Steel factories are now selling steel at an average price of $72 per tonne, an increase of about $28 on last month’s levels.

The surge in steel prices followed a court ruling supporting a 2012 ministerial decree that imposed duties of $43 per tonne on imported steel to protect local production against threats to the local market.

The ministerial decree was issued after local steel producers complained that imported steel was flooding the market. As a result, imported steel now sells for more than $100 per tonne, a higher price than for the local product.

Al-Sayed Atrees, a steel importer, said that imported steel had previously helped to balance the market and had prevented unjustified price increases by local producers.

“The safeguard duties imposed on imported steel now allow local producers to control the market and to monopolise it,” he said.


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