Vietnam cement prices seen surging despite assurance

Vietnam cement prices seen surging despite assurance
Published: 25 March 2008

Prices of popular cement brands are expected to rise further early next month though the Ministry of Construction assured the market late last week that cement prices would not increase in the first haft of this year.  
 
The ministry called an emergency meeting with some 24 leading cement producers in the country last Friday to discuss solutions for stabilising the cement market after news about a possible 40% rise in cement prices emerged.  
 
Many cement outlets in HCMC’s districts of Tan Binh, Go Vap, Phu Nhuan and 11 said that cement prices would likely increase by a maximum VND2,000 per 50 - kilogram bag in early April.  
 
The owner of the Phu Lam construction materials outlet in Tan Binh District, who was identified as Chi, told the Daily yesterday that the distributors of Ha Tien 1 and Holcimcement had informed him Sunday that the prices of these cement brands would leap by some VND2,000 per bag early next month.  
 
As the outlets owners in the city said yesterday that Ha Tien 1 cost some VND60,000 per bag, and  Holcim some VND58,000.  
 
“The distributors told me after the ministry met the domestic cement makers that it’s impossible for cement prices to remain unchanged,?Chi said.  
 
The owner of a cement outlet on Le Duc Tho Street of Go Vap District said a few days ago, he got news about a cement retail price increase of VND500 per bag for Ha Tien 1 and Holcim.
 
The price of these cement will begin to increase by early next week, he said. Other cement outlets in Go Vap District even advised that contractors be careful in signing construction contracts because cement prices remained volatile in the near future.  
 
The owner of Hung Thinh cement outlet said the supply of cement was tight. However, this owner said the prices would remain unchanged and that whether they rose or not depended on distributors.  
 
At the meeting held by the Ministry of Construction last week, Deputy Minister Nguyen Tran Nam said in months to come, more cement plants would be up and running, supplying an extra five million tons of cement.  
 
Nam told the media at the meeting that the demand for cement in the first quarter was expected to increase 14% and this was a sudden increase but within the demand forecasts by the ministry and the industry.  
 
The country expects to import some 4Mt of clinker for cement production this year, but the price of this material is increasing in the world, according to Nam.