The price for cement in the 2015 fiscal year was considered stable as cement companies provided their final report of monthly disclosures on cement prices to the Ministry of Supply for the month December, Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafy said in a Wednesday statement.
Average cement production per week in December was recorded at 1m tonnes compared to an average of 989,000 tonnes per week in November, Hanafy added.
As part of the Ministry of Supply’s attempt to ensure market fairness, Hanafy announced the prices fixed by many companies. The Suez Cement Group reported a price of EGP 850 per tonne; Assiut Cement EGP 859 per tonne; BeniSuef Cement EGP 720 per tonne.
While the announcement prices are made public, Saied Hagag, head of the domestic trade sector in the Ministry of Supply, said companies and agents are not prohibited from selling at lower prices on the condition that the official price reported to the Ministry of Supply is declared on the occasion of sale
Hagag added that daily inspection campaigns are conducted at cement companies and factories, as well as of wholesalers and retailers, to ensure their adherence to officially reported prices.
The government plans to offer new licences for the production of cement to meet the future needs of the local market, which are expected to reach 90.4m tonnes by 2022, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Qabil said recently.
Egypt has 23 cement production companies. They produce an estimated 60m tonnes of cement per year, a material that is considered a vital component in the construction activities in the region.
In April 2014, the government approved the use of coal as an energy source in the industrial sector; subsequently, cement companies in Egypt took steps to commence tests on the use of coal in thermal power generation. However, last May, cement factory owners said the specifications set by the Ministry of Environment on trade, transport, and coal storage are stricter than European specifications.
Following the announcement of fuel prices that coincided with the start of the 2016 fiscal year, the government has raised gas prices for cement factories to $8 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) compared to the previous $6. The price of fuel oil increased from EGP 1,500 to EGP 2,250 per tonne.
Members of the steel and cement manufacturers in the Egyptian market contend that the government’s attempts to introduce new licences for steel and cement production will introduce hurdles in production as there is a lack of energy supplies.