Saudi cement firms told to reverse price rise

Saudi cement firms told to reverse price rise
Published: 29 May 2007

The Saudi government has ordered the country’s cement producers to reverse increases of as much as 71 per cent in their prices, calling them unjustified.

"Trade and Industry Minister Hashem bin Abdullah Yamani has issued a decision to halt the increase in the sale-price of cement introduced by the companies during the month of Rabii Al Akher and to bring prices back to their level before this date," the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

That date is April 18, according to the Islamic calendar. "The decision follows ... the increase by several cement firms of prices without justification," the ministry said.

The order will "stabilise prices in the local market to the satisfaction of the consumer’s need for this strategic commodity, especially amid the construction boom in the kingdom, which has contributed to a rise in the volume of demand," the ministry said.

In the most populated parts of the country, such as Riyadh, producers hiked prices to as much as SAR480  ($112) per tonne, compared with SAR280  per tonne previously, an official at the capital’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry said yesterday. The official declined to be identified. The average price-rise for the nation is 40 per cent, said the official.