Philippine cement prices up PHP8

Philippine cement prices up PHP8
Published: 28 April 2008

Cement prices have risen by at least PHP8 per bag following the recent increase in the prices of coal in the world market, particularly in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia.

Holcim Philippines Inc., considered to be the largest of the country’s six cement companies, reportedly now buys coal at $85 to $100 per ton, compared to only $38 per ton late last year.

“So, we have no choice but to increase the prices of our cement because of the over 200 percent increase in the prices of coal,” a company official, who asked for anonymity said.

The demand for coal has reportedly gone up as it is also used by the power sector and the steel industry.

Holcim operates four of the 15 cement plants in the country and it sources its coal mainly from Indonesia, if not Australia. Vietnam has reportedly stopped exporting coal due to the increase in its own demand for fuel.

China reportedly is the top rival of the Philippines in buying coal from other countries.

“China’s demand is so huge so that we have to cope with the rate China is offering the coal-producing countries like Indonesia,” the source said.

“We have to compete with China when we buy coal. We have to also up our buying price so we could get a share of the coal produced by Indonesia.”

However, despite the increase in the prices of cement and even steel, the construction industry reportedly still registers an upsurge these days, especially since property development is up in Metro Manila.

“The demand for cement is highest in Metro Manila with the continued boom in construction,” the source said.

“That is why our plants in Mindanao sometimes have to augment the requirements for cement at our Bulacan plant.”