Cement prices hardened further last month across the country except in a few markets such as Bhatinda, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
Data from the Cement Manufacturing Association (CMA) show the prices rose by an average 2.3 per cent in August compared with the figure an year ago. The prices during the first five months of the current financial year till August increased by around 1.2 per cent.
The biggest rise was recorded in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, where the prices firmed up by 7.8 per cent YoY from Rs 154 to Rs 166. In Muzafarpur, they have increased by 6.1 per cent to Rs 174, in Mumbai by 5.9 per cent to Rs 180, in Lucknow by 5.3 per cent to Rs 158 and in Bhopal by 5.3 per cent to Rs 139.
The price went up most in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, Kerala, to Rs 189. Meanwhile, in Hyderabad there was a steep 10.1 per cent fall to Rs 123 - the cheapest in the country. At Thiruvananthapuram, the rise was 4.2 per cent and at Kozhikode 2.8 per cent.
In all regions, barring south, the prices went up by a marginal 0.2 per cent over that of July. The firming up of the prices even during the peak of the monsoon season is a clear sign of the tightening of the demand-supply scenario, says a cement analyst with SSKI.
In the north, the rise was 3-5 per cent over July, primarily driven by a stable demand, tightening of demand-supply and a lack of rainfall in August.
The cement prices remained stable in the western region despite a subdued demand in the first 10 days of the month due to heavy rains in the region.
Meanwhile, in the east due to sluggish demand in the peak monsoon season the prices were rendered stable or even weak.
The 2-4 per cent improvement in the south over a year was mainly on the back of strong recovery in cement demand over the past four months. Analysts expect the prices to remain stable till the end of this month. In October, however, they are likely to jump between five per cent and seven per cent across the country.