LAHORE - The cement manufacturers in north region of the country, which comprises Punjab and KP provinces, have reduced rates by Rs10-15 per 50kg bag to Rs480-495. This is third cut in prices during the last three months, leading to decline of rates in north by around 12 percent from the high of Rs560 per 50kg bag after budget announcement in May 2017.

The industry sources said that prices in southern region, particularly in Karachi, remain up in the range of Rs570-600 per 50 kg bag, showing a difference of around Rs100/bag to north including Rs40/bag after adjustment of freight charges. A report of Topline stated that cement prices in Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Peshawar have declined to Rs495-530/bag. For instance, in Islamabad, Cherat Cement and Bestway Cement are available at Rs495 per bag and Fauji Cement at Rs515 per bag.

In Faislabad, Maple Leaf Cement is available at Rs525-530 per bag, Pioneer Cement at Rs520 per bag. In Peshawar, Cherat Cement is being sold at Rs500-510 per bag, Kohat Cement at Rs510 per bag and Lucky Cement at Rs500 per bag. The decline in prices has taken the investors by surprise since cement prices in north were anticipated to remain stable after the imposition of federal excise duty (FED) where prices increased by Rs25 per bag on average in June 2017.

Experts attributed the cut in prices in North to slower construction activity resulting in weaker demand growth due to seasonal factors. Top Line Securities experts said that different companies in north are also offering discounts of Rs15 per bag. The industry stakeholders have stressed the need for reduction in duties and taxes to bring down the prices of cement further with a view to facilitate consumers which would also help industry to grow as it is playing a vital role in the development of the country.