Prices of steel bars, cement move up - Newspaper - DAWN.COM

2021-12-27 12:59:13 By : Ms. Holly Hao

KARACHI: Manufacturers have further pushed up steel bar prices by Rs5,000 per tonne to Rs126,500-128,500. The latest increase has taken the cumulative price hike by over Rs15,000 per tonne from mid-November till to date.

Builders said cement prices were also moving up and were pegged at Rs625 per 50 kg bag — up by Rs45 in the last two months.

Talking to Dawn, former chairman Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Hassan Bakhshi said steel bar makers had informed builders through messages regarding price jump of Rs5,000 per tonne citing high volatility in international scrap market and skyrocketing prices.

Another message was received from Amreli Steels Limited regarding closure of its sales bookings nationwide for deformed and Xtream rebars in all sizes from Dec 19, 2020, he added.

Builders allege the hike is a conspiracy against PM’s housing scheme

Builders see the increase in cement and steel prices as a conspiracy against the Prime Minister’s ambitious Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme (NHPS) and the national economy.

Chairman ABAD Fayyaz Ilyas urged the federal government to take stern action against these ‘unscrupulous elements’ who were trying to sabotage government’s steps for reviving the national economy.

“Despite the fact that most of raw materials are local, cement and steel manufacturers have raised the prices of their products exorbitantly, which is no way justifiable,” Ilyas said.

The ABAD chief alleged that cement and steel manufacturers’ cartels were hell bent on crushing the construction industry and attempting to ‘sabotage a noble cause of the prime minister’.

Cement and steel are main building materials of the construction industry but manufacturers of these two materials are busy in minting money without any justification. The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) looks helpless to take any stringent steps against these cartels, he added.

Meanwhile, manufacturers have been attributing the hike in international iron and steel scrap prices as one of the main reasons of soaring steel bar rates.

However, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics suggests drop in iron and steel scrap prices.

Interestingly, one dollar is now equal to Rs160 in the interbank market as compared to Rs168 in the last week of August 2020, thus suggesting fall in cost of imports in the above period.

According to PBS, the average per tonne price of iron and steel scraps fell to $454 per tonne in November 2020 from $392 per tonne in October 2020. Total iron and steel imports in November stood at 381,891 tonnes valuing $135 million as compared to 411,228 tonnes costing $161m in October 2020.

Total Iron and Steel Scrap imports in July-Nov 2020 rose to 2.206m tonnes, amounting to $781m as compared to 1.688m tonnes with a value of $661m in the same period a year ago. The average per tonne price in 5MFY21 of iron and steel scrap fell to $354 from $391 in same period last year.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2020

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