Nesher Cement, Israel has just announced that the price of cement would rise six per cent in January. It said this was because of higher production costs, particularly of fuel and electricity. The Association of Contractors and Builders in Israel said that the price hike was unacceptable. The association’s president, Aharon Cohen, said Nesher was a monopoly, and that any price rise required government approval.
Cohen said that, in the association’s view, the real reason for the price rise was the sharp fall in cement imports, which he said was due to the levy imposed by the government. In October, for example, 300,000t of cement were sold, only 10 per cent of which was imported. According to Cohen, Nesher feels that the market is once more under its control, and therefore it permits itself to raise prices, at a time when many contractors are in financial difficulties because of the situation in the market and the doubling of steel prices. In his opinion, more expensive cement will be a burden on the industry, and will put more contractors into financial difficulties.