The price of local steel rose to EGP 4,900 a tonne this month, an EGP 600 increase since December 2012. This came as the price of the dollar continued to rise against the Egyptian pound, in addition to the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imported steel recently put forth by the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade.
Ahmed Al-Zini, president of the Building Resources Division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said that a number of importers have filed a lawsuit against the ministry demanding the repeal of new anti-dumping duties on imported steel.
He added that the total amount of Turkish steel entering Egypt in 2012 did not exceed 309,000 tonnes, far less than the amount imported in 2011. He went on to say “there was no justification for imposing such duties when the amount of steel produced locally had risen to 8m tonnes.”
Al-Zini added that companies have used these new duties as justification to raise the price of steel, now at EGP 4,900 a tonne, a number that is expected to rise unless the minister of industry repeals the new duties. He added that it would be consumers who bear the burden of any further price increases.
He added that the Building Materials Division within the Cairo Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to hold a meeting within a week to discuss the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imported steel, the extent to which this could cause companies to raise their prices, in addition to expected tax increases on steel and cement and their expected effects on the market.
The price of cement on the other hand fell between EGP 20 and 30 per tonne last week, which when combined with heavy rains witnessed in many of Egypt’s provinces, put a temporary hold on construction throughout the country.
Abd Al-Aziz Qasim, secretary of the Building Resources Division within the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said that cement factories had to lower their prices despite a recent decline in sales, the result of the temporary freezing of construction efforts throughout Egypt. This has led supply to outstrip demand.
He pointed out that agents and distributors were forced to lower their prices by EGP 30 per tonne in order to address the decrease in demand, the result of difficult weather conditions.
He added that heavy rains and cold weather combined to prevent a number of supply trucks from reaching their destinations, which, when coupled with the decrease in sales, led to a drop in the price of cement.
Mahmoud Kinani, member of the Building Materials Division within Egypt’s Chamber of Commerce, said that recent bad weather and an oversupply of cement both coalesced to lead to the drop in prices, with a tonne of cement now costing EGP 465, compared to EGP 490 last week.
Magdi Satur, director of sales at the Sinai Cement Company, said that factories did not plan on lowering the price of cement within the next month, however acknowledged that oversupply, decrease in demand and continued bad weather have forced distributors to lower their prices. He added that the current cost of a tonne of cement produced at a Sinai Company factory remained EGP 460.