Cement Prices Rise Rs 25 Per Bag In February
An Indian laborer stamps on a pile of cement bags at a building site in Gurgaon, India (Photographer: Adam Ferguson/Bloomberg News)  

Cement Prices Rise Rs 25 Per Bag In February

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Cement prices increased by Rs 24-25 for a 50 kilogram bag in February as compared to the previous month amid falling cost and rising demand, according to a report.

The hike in the cement prices came after a “protracted stall” following the rollout of the goods and services tax in July 2017, said Crisil Research in its report. The increase would help the cement industry increase profitability and margins, it added.

“The recent steep hikes in cement prices will boost the operating profitability of manufacturers even as costs are descending and demand growth ascending,” Crisil said.

The southern region had the steepest hike, where Hyderabad witnessed a rise of Rs 77 per bag, followed by Rs 62 per bag in Chennai and Rs 52 per bag in Bengaluru.

While other regions had a moderate increase, with Rs 26 in the west followed by Rs 12 in the east, Rs 7 in the central region, and Rs 4 per bag in the north, the report said. “This upends the downtrend in cement prices seen since the rollout of the GST”

Even in the current financial year, cement prices have seen a decline of 2.5 percent between April 2018 and January 2019 despite demand growth of 12.5-13 percent in the nine months.

CRISIL Research Senior Director Prasad Koparkar: “The price hikes, coupled with falling costs and rising demand growth, will enable 200-250 bps (basis points) on-year improvement in margins in the current quarter.”

Also read: Cement Industry Gets Back Its Pricing Power. Is It Here To Stay?

Sustainability of these prices beyond the current quarter appears uncertain as demand momentum is seen coming off in the first half of the next fiscal, given the impending elections, he added.

Meanwhile, the cost of power and fuel and freight have been trending down.

“Petcoke prices have softened to $91 per tonne in the current quarter compared with $110 per tonne in the corresponding quarter a year ago,” it added.

India is the second-largest producer of cement in the world after China, with an installed capacity of 472 million tonnes per annum.

Also read: India Cements Expects Higher Prices To Sustain On Growing Demand

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