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Cement price hiked 9.2%

Published:Friday | June 1, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Caribbean Cement Company Limited has increased the price of bagged cement by 9.2 per cent, but said the ex-factory price will still be among the lowest in five other regional markets.

Effective today, June 1, the ex-factory price of Carib Cement Plus will be increased from J$705 to J$761.91.

The new price is inclusive of the new 16.5 per cent GCT rate.

In a statement to the Jamaica Stock Exchange yesterday, Caribbean Cement advised shareholders that the rebound in sales seen towards the end of last year has not been maintained and the domestic market appears to be going into contraction once again.

At the same time, it said, in the first four months of this year oil prices continued to rise and are up 12 per cent over the end-of-year prices.

"This has translated into nine per cent increase in electricity costs and we are likely to face similar increase in our solid fuel costs when next we order," Caribbean Cement said, adding that "these increases directly impact on mining, manufacturing and distribution costs."

The cement producer said its situation was not very different to other manufacturers in the region, who have also been adjusting their prices in the face of escalating energy and other costs.

It said that even with the increase, the ex-factory price of its product was still the lowest among the manufacturing countries of Mexico, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Trinidad.

Caribbean Cement said the percentage of cement used in home construction varies depending on the house, but it typically accounts for about 10 per cent of building costs and the price increase would add about one per cent to costs.

The increase follows a first-quarter loss of J$625 million and a dip in quarterly domestic sales volumes by 320 tonnes year-over-year.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com