The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) has raised concerns over the steep hike in cement and steel prices in the domestic market. The industry association has urged the government to protect advantages promised by them while announcing initiatives for the construction sector.
Due to this hike in steel and cement prices, the cost of construction has gone up sharply, creating cash crunch for builders and contractors. The country’s economic growth would also see a negative impact of this development, experts said.
Prices of domestic billet and scrap have gone down since mid-January amid a drop in imported ferrous scrap, however, rebar makers have kept their prices adamantly firm. Scrap prices have recovered this week though.
FPCCI Vice President, Nasir Khan, said high input costs would make the incentives offered by the government for its fixed tax regime for the construction industry ineffective.
In January, Pakistan’s domestic market recorded prices for the cement above PKR500-700/bag, whereas that of rebar of G-60 by leading mills in Karachi, including Agha, ASG and Amreli Steel, had jumped to Rs140,000-145,000/mt.
The industry leaders also urged the government to waive-off custom duties on the import of cement and steel raw materials for at least a quarter so that they can avail benefits of the fixed tax regime.
Domestic steel sales slow, demand up
Limited supply and rising demand pushed domestic scrap up on Wednesday amid positive market sentiment. On Wednesday, domestic Bala billet prices recovered to PKR98,000-99,000/mt ex-works Lahore from the levels of PKR95,000/mt ex-works late last week.
Domestic Art Q toke scrap equivalent to a mix of HMS and P&S was offered at PKR80,000-81,000/mt ex-works Lahore, while Pure Q Toke (shredded) traded at PKR82,000-83,000/mt ex-yards.