Egypt will ban cement exports from March 29th 2008 until October 1st 2008 as part of measures to control the markets.
Ms Samiha Fawzi, first deputy to Trade and Industry Minister Mr Mohamed Rachid, said the move is a temporary measure to face the seasonal increase of demand for construction material during summer. She said "Our construction sector is booming and we have shortages in the local market of cement and steel."
She added that "Once more companies start production and supply comes back to normal, we will lift the ban.”
Egypt granted 13 licenses for Greenfield cement operations and factory expansions in October 2007 and another one in January 2008. The government expects the new plants to add production capacity of 20Mt, taking total annual production to 55Mt.
Rising local cement prices drove the ministry of trade to introduce an export duty on cement at EGP 65/t in February and raised the duty to EGP85/t in August.
Egypt increased export duties on some steel products on Wednesday in response to rising global prices, but kept duties on cement exports unchanged. The ministry also said in a statement that cement and steel factories would not be allowed to halt production without a special permit. Twenty executives of local cement companies are already facing trial in Egypt on charges of conspiring to fix prices.