Pakistan seeks further price rises

Published 22 September 2011

After a recent surge in Pakistan cement prices over the last two weeks, All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has sought further increase in rates on the basis of high input cost.

“Cement price should go up further to the level of PKR450 per bag because of the rising electricity, furnace oil and gas prices,” said Aizaz Mansoor Sheikh, Chairman All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).

The retail price of cement rose by PKR60 per bag in the last two weeks to PKR400 in northern parts of the country.

He said the price of cement was at the current level even before Ramazan. “There is not much economic activity during the holy month so the prices witnessed a dip then.”

Analysts say that an increase of PKR25 per bag could be justified because of costly furnace oil and surge in utility rates. But beyond this, it seemed to be the result of cartelisation because the demand for cement could not witness any substantial increase while it is raining across the country, they added.

Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan Rahat Kaunain Hassan said they could not take action merely on price increase as CCP was not a price regulator. She added that CCP would, however, look into the matter when some evidence with respect to collusion for price increase comes to light.