Cement prices watched, Philippines

Cement prices watched, Philippines
Published: 26 January 2007

The Trade department is monitoring the prices of cement and warned firms against unreasonable price increases after several cement firms raised their prices ahead of the summer construction season.

A statement yesterday said Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila warned cement manufacturers in a meeting last week that the department is keeping a close watch on the movement of cement prices. In the same meeting, he said the government could intervene in the market to ensure stable prices.

"We have called on the manufacturers for a transparent and full disclosure of price increases, so consumers will have the full benefit of fair and reasonable prices at the retail level," Mr. Favila said. "Market intervention by the government is always open to ensure that stable prices and quality products are available to consumers."

"As early as now, we are assessing the market situation for construction materials in preparation for the peak of construction activity this summer to guarantee that any issue which can affect the interests of the buying public will be readily acted upon," the statement quoted Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare Zenaida Cuison Maglaya as saying.

The Trade department said data culled from its regional and provincial offices showed the prices of cement have increased by P2-P5 on a month-on- month period. In Metro Manila, the Trade department said Rizal Cement raised its price by 2.94% to P175 this month from P170 last month, Excel cement raised its price to P178 from P174, while Continental Cement increased its price by to P175 from P172.

In a nationwide monitoring data, the Trade department said the brands such as Northern Cement, Excel, Continental, Union, Apo, Mindanao Cement, Mayon, Fortune Portland, New Grand, Pacific and Apo Grand increased their prices by 1.71% to 3.86% in the past few weeks.

Cement makers like Holcim Philippines, Inc. and Cemex Philippines said they raised factory prices at the beginning of the year to cover increases in production costs and inputs such as gypsum, coal, and ware parts.