Cement firms warned against hiking prices
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned local cement industry players against unwarranted increases in cement prices given the adequate supply in the market based on its latest monitoring reports.
Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, officer-in-charge of DTI’s Consumer Protection Group, noted that current cement prices in the National Capital Region ranged from P215 to P220 per 40-kilogram bag.
“The DTI is strict on taking measures against unwarranted price increases and we appeal especially to these cement companies to [assist in securing] the welfare of the consumers,” Dimagiba said.
The DTI has been receiving reports of increasing prices of cement in some areas, and this could be attributed to the robust demand of the construction sector.
The DTI said, however, that there was no reason to raise prices since supply was enough to meet rising demand.
“Our monitoring teams in all provinces and regions have been notified to conduct daily monitoring activities over the next two weeks on prices of cement. We will accordingly issue show cause orders (SCOs), if necessary, to retailers, manufacturers, importers and distributors of cement and let them explain the sudden increase in their prices,” Dimagiba added.
So far, only Eagle Cement has advised DTI that it has not adjusted its prices, Dimagiba said.
The DTI again reminded retailers, manufacturers, importers, and distributors of basic necessities and prime commodities that any act of price manipulation, namely profiteering, hoarding and cartel, is punishable by imprisonment of between five years and 15 years; or a fine of at least P5,000 but not more than P2 million, as stated in the Price Act.
In the first nine months of 2013, sales of local cement manufacturers rose by 7.1 percent to 14.9 million metric tons, on the back of a continued growth of the real estate and construction industries, according to the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP).
In the third quarter of 2013 alone, cement sales grew by 9.2 percent to 4.8 million MT, from 4.4 million MT posted in the same period in 2012.
CeMAP president Ernesto Ordoñez said the increase in cement sales was driven mainly by the increase in government spending on infrastructure, increase in business confidence, and the growing economy.
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