Cement demand in September was up in many parts of the country, post-monsoon. Companies hiked prices mainly due to higher production costs. A 50-kg bag is now dearer by Rs 10-20 while another increase of Rs 5-10 is likely soon, said a cement dealer.
The South, where prices have almost bottomed out, saw the maximum hike of Rs 20 a bag followed by the western and central regions, where it was raised by Rs 10, he added. Cement prices in the North and the East were under pressure due to flooding and excess supply.
Mr Shailendra Chouksey, Wholetime Director, JK Lakshmi Cement, a prominent player in the northern region, said heavy rain and extended monsoon affected demand. However, the company is hopeful of demand improving from October.
“The industry growth in the northern region between April and August was at 4-5 per cent against 12-13 per cent in the same period last year. As such, the cement industry normally experiences higher growth in the second half of the fiscal compared to the first,” he added.
A key reason for the price hike is the sharp rise in input costs such as coal and power as also freight.