The government may cancel the 5% customs duty on cement imports within the next month, Aton quoted the local media as reporting, citing Rosstroi head Sergei Kruglik. Officials hope the measure will lower domestic market cement prices, which have risen 60%-70% since the beginning of the year, according to Aton’s estimates.
Aton believes that over the short term the move would at best freeze prices, and not reduce them: besides the shortage of building materials, price increases are being driven by transportation problems, first among them a shortage of railroad cars. Aton believes that the lower duties could benefit cement producers from Turkey and China, the two large exporters closest to Russia. However, in the near term, Aton does not expect a sharp fall in prices, given that one of the reasons for the price increases has been transportation problems, first among them a shortage of railroad cars.
Aton notes that Evrocement Group and Sibircement shares may be an attractive investment opportunity given the current boom on the cement market.