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Demand for cement remains flat in 1st half

By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 [ ]

The demand for cement for the first six months of the year remained flat as public construction went down six percent during the second quarter, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) said.

An official from the CEMAP said that the only saving grace for the first half of the year is the pick up of private construction.

“Public construction is really bad, especially if we compare it to the same period last year when public construction went up by more than 50 percent. Maybe the fact that last year was an election season was a factor in this,” the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

The official said that the industry is hoping that the demand for the remaining six months will pick up.

Earlier, an industry insider said that the price of cement is expected to increase this month because the current prices still do not reflect the high cost of raw materials.

In an interview, the official said that coal prices rose to as much as 81 percent when compared to last year’s prices.

The cost of coal imported from Indonesia is currently at $115 per ton, significantly higher than the $85.58 per ton in December last year.

In fact, the official said that since January, the price of coal accelerated faster than crude oil. Although the price of coal is slowly going down, the price level is still high and the current cement prices still do not reflect the high cost of raw materials.

The official further said that cement firms in the Philippines have been moderating the increase in prices as they only adjusted the price by three to five percent while Indonesia raised their price by 25 percent and 58 percent in Vietnam.


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