Saudi Arabia stops cement exports

Saudi Arabia stops cement exports
Published: 14 February 2012


Saudi Arabia has stopped cement and clinker exports to prevent shortages and to stabilise domestic prices.

The kingdom’s western region, which includes the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, has suffered a cement shortage as the government increased spending for infrastructure.

Prices for new homes in Jeddah rose as much as 10% this month because of the higher cost of cement, local paper al-Eqtisadiah reported.

Cement makers outside the western region, including Abha-based Southern Province Cement Co (SPCC), are required to regularly supply that area, Ahmed Bin Abdul Rahman, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.

“This is a common measure used by the authorities to regulate local demand,” said Kais Kriaa, an analyst at AlphaMena in Tunis. “The local demand problem is the supply variation from one region to another.
“The real solution to this problem in a sustained demand environment would be the increase of production capacity, especially in regions where supply is relatively low,” Kriaa said.

Cement production in the country rose 23% in January from the same month a year earlier.