Firm linked to Bahrain cement price hike panic
Manama, January 10, 2011
A single Bahraini company has been blamed for causing national panic over rising cement prices, it has emerged.
The company raised its prices by 30 per cent and encouraged other firms to follow suit, an industry insider told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
They declined to name the firm, but said the cost had now returned to normal following the intervention of the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
Cement is now expected to remain at the existing price of BD21 per tonne for some time.
'We have now reliably learnt only one of Bahrain's cement companies tried to jack up the price and they somehow managed to influence the others to follow suit,' said a contractor, who asked to remain anonymous.
'The ministry rightly intervened and scuttled that move and the current price, we are told, will remain for a long time.'
Another contractor said he was still buying cement at the old rate of BD21 per tonne and BD1.300 per bag.
'I see no change and people who I buy it from have said there will be no change,' he said.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) contractors committee chairman Samir Nass welcomed efforts to tackle a cement cartel.
'We always stand by what the government is doing and will continue to support all of their moves,' he said.
Nass said for the contractors it was business as usual after a period of uncertainty.
'We thank the government for its progressive thinking,' he said.
The GDN earlier reported the BCCI called on the Commerce and Industry Ministry to intervene to prevent a 30 per cent increase in cement prices.
A closed meeting took place last Monday between BCCI chairman Dr Essam Fakhro and Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro.
It followed a collective 30 per cent increase in the price of cement by manufacturers on New Year's Day, based on complaints that their margins were too small.
Sources said earlier the cost of an ordinary 50kg bag of cement would have been raised by 33 per cent BD1.600 and that of resistant cement by 32 per cent to BD1.650.
The price of bulk ordinary cement would have surged by 30 per cent to BD30 per tonne, and bulk resistant cement by 32 per cent to BD31.-TradeArabia News Service