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Local prices of steel bars continue to rise – DTI

By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio
Monday, July 21, 2008 [ philstar.com ]

The domestic prices of steel bars are still on the uptrend as the costs of raw materials continue to rise, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said over the weekend.

In an interview, Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya told The STAR that the price of steel has gone up 40 percent since the beginning of the year.

However, she said prices of construction materials may ease as the rainy season begins. “Of course when it rains the demand decreases. This may affect the price,” she noted.

Global Steel confirmed that the price of steel has been fluctuating from week to week because of the raw materials and global demand but refused to give any further details.

For his part, Antonio Lorenzana, executive vice president of PhilSteel Holdings, said the increase in the price of steel bars has little to do with oil prices. The rising price of crude oil in the world market has been blamed for the continued price increase of other commodities.

“The cost of making steel and the global demand are the main reasons why the price went up,” he said.

Lorenzana said all the raw materials needed to produce steel are imported. Philsteel normally gets its raw materials from neighboring countries like Taiwan and China.

Meanwhile, the demand for cement decreased during the first five months of the year in spite of the continuous construction activity in the metropolis.

“The latest data showed that the demand for cement went down 0.3 percent when compared to the same period the previous year,” Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) president Ernesto Ordoñez said.

Ordoñez said he could not explain why the demand for cement declined, especially since there is an obvious upsurge in construction.

Ordoñez said the result is an oversupply of cement. Although there is great supply and smaller demand, Ordoñez said there are no talks of reducing the price of cement.

“The individual companies would have to decide that but I don’t think there will be downward adjustment of prices,” Ordoñez explained.

Meanwhile, Holcim, the largest cement company, said they have an oversupply of cement, and are, in fact, already exporting their products.

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