Cement merchants seal agreement with government to control price hikes

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CAIRO: Cement Merchants League at the Egyptian Federation of Commerce Chambers has sealed an agreement with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to open up ten outlets for distribution of cement in Greater Cairo as an attempt to put an end to rising cement prices in the local market.

Ezzeddin Awad, head of the Cement Merchants League said on Tuesday that his group agreed with the ministry on selling cement at LE 342 per ton through the new outlets.

He argued that the initiative’s aim is to strike a balance between cement prices at factory ground and the target consumer prices set by the government.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry had in late 2006 set a target for cement consumer prices at LE 330 per ton and target for factory ground prices at LE 300 per ton. The majority of cement merchants, however, rejected the government target as cement producers increased ton prices to more than LE 345.

The skyrocketing prices urged Minister of Trade and Industry to impose export taxes on cement at LE 65 per ton, aiming to deter companies from directing production to overseas market and creating a shortage in the domestic market.

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