Importing cement from Germany and Scandinavian countries will be appraised to curb cement deficit in Latvia, the Latvian Builders Association’s (LBA) president Viktors Purins told Latvian news sources. According to Purins, Minister of Economy Krisjanis Karins (New Era) has ordered officials to appraise cement prices in these countries after a meeting with the construction sector representatives. Building a new cement plant is believed to be not feasible due to high costs and lack of time, Purins said.
According to Purins, cement makers in Belarus have been instructed to supply cement to Belarussian construction companies first, then consumers in Russia, which too has run into cement deficit, and export cement to other countries only after that. Lithuanian and Estonian cement makers also supply cement to consumers in the home country first, which is why cement imports from these countries have stopped.
Representatives from the construction materials dealer "K-Rauta" also believe that prices for cement will increase about 10-15 percent this fall yet. "K-Rauta" public relations manager Ieva Zlaugotne said that retail prices of cement had already increased 15 per cent in a month’s time in wake of the cement deficit. "Traders can sell cement at any price they want now - it will sell all the same," Zlaugotne said.
"Tapeks Ltd." board member Imants Kivrins also said that the prices would keep growing. "Tapeks" has not raised the prices yet, and will not. Only those clients who want to buy a large amount of cement and do not have a contract with the company are not being offered discounts, which used to be the company’s usual practice.
Cement shipments are sold out right after received at stores, Zlaugotne said. "People call us on the phone, they come and buy." He believes the press has caused the fuss, because those who actually do not even need cement now also come to stores to buy it.
According to Purins, the Lithuanian cement maker "Akmenes cementas" is planning to raise production capacity by 200,000t in the near future. He expects that this could help resolve the situation in Latvia too, because until now 30 per cent of cement consumed in Latvia was imported.