By Inam al-Adwi
Businessmen working in Egypt’s building materials sector warned that steel prices are expected to rise this coming June, as a result of increases in the price of raw materials and the continued devaluation of the Egyptian pound.
Muhammad Towfiq, representative for the Ezz Steel Company, confirmed that prices for steel can be expected to rise this June, citing dollar shortages and repeated increases in the price of the dollar. The production of steel, he said, relied on the import of a number of raw materials from abroad, whose prices tend to rises with that of the dollar. This increases the cost of production for steel, a cost which is eventually passed on to customers.
Muhammad Hassabullah, representative for both the Ezz and Garhy Steel companies, said that the rise in world prices for raw materials such as billet are partially responsible for similar increases in the price of steel, in addition to the general state of recession seen throughout Egypt. He added that the coming of the wheat harvest season has also caused many of the sector’s construction workers to begin working in agriculture, forcing companies to increase their pay in order to attract an adequate number of labourers. This, he said, has also helped contribute to increases in the price of steel.
He added that imported steel has completely disappeared from local markets, as a result of dollar shortages and a new 6.8% protectionist fee on steel products recently enacted by the Ministry of Industry.
Samir Naami, Director of Sales for the Ezz Steel Company, stated that recent increases in the price of the dollar on the black market to EGP 7.4 at a time when companies rely heavily on the import of raw materials needed to produce steel, will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the price of products for consumers.