Steep rise in cement prices

Steep rise in cement prices
Published: 13 December 2006

Qatar cement prices in the local market have gone up considerably following scarcity reportedly due to some disruption in imports in the last few days.

Although Qatar National Cement Company, Qatar’s largest cement supplier as of now, has not made any increase in the cement price, some retailers have jacked up the price by as much as 25%, sources said yesterday.

Inquiries made by Gulf Times yesterday revealed that the asking price for a bag of cement was QR26 per bag, up from about QR19 to QR20 last month.

A construction manager of a large building firm said though the retail supply would not meet the needs of large projects entirely; it often took care of their immediate requirements.

Because of the shortage, he said, his firm had not been getting the required supplies from QNCC in the last few days.

"We need to go to the retailers, even if it means very little additional quantity," he said.

He said his firm procured cement at a wholesale price of QR15.25 per bag, which was competitive.

"Even with a transportation cost of QR1.25 per bag, the wholesale price works out cheaper and matches well with the price in other Gulf States," he pointed out.

According to sources, the current cement scarcity was due to the disruption in imports on several days in the last couple of weeks. A chunk of imports come from Saudi Arabia.

"The imports have since stabilised, but it may take a while before the backlog is cleared," they pointed out.

Cement shortage in Qatar has been triggered by the construction boom. The first major shortage was in 2004.

Besides the heightened demand, the lack of import facilities at the Qatari ports was a disincentive then. The situation, however, has improved in the last couple of years.