Prices of cement have been changing since last week with a general trend toward rise in prices of other construction materials as well, traders say.
The price of a bag of cement went up last weekend to SR20 before falling to around SR17, but traders say they expected the figure to rise again as supply dropped at the start of the new weekend.
One salesman at a central Jeddah market said that only two van loads of cement appeared at the site last Friday morning, a sharp fall from the usual 50 to 60. He alleged that sometimes suppliers leave the market to dry up in order to force prices to rise, and lamented a lack of inspectors from the Ministry of Trade and Industry to monitor prices.
Khalaf Al-Otaibi from the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Construction Materials Committee appealed to the ministry to take action and fine companies that try to fix cement prices and halt unjustified rises.
“If the ministry fails to take measures the Construction Materials Committee will not hesitate in bringing the issue to the attention of higher authorities,” he said. The Ministry of Trade and Industry contacted major Arab cement companies last week to ask them to address the shortfall in cement production, warning them that the ministry was prepared to issue fines over price rises.