Cement manufacturers have increased the prices selectively in April depending upon the demand conditions prevailing in the region. According to some of the dealers, cement prices have been increased in some parts like Rajasthan and Maharashtra from the first week of April.
While cement manufacturers announced a price hike of Rs 30/bag in Rajasthan, in Maharashtra it was only Rs 20/bag. In some other parts of the country, price hike was modest at Rs 15/bag. Price hike in April comes close on the heels of March price hike which was later on partially rolled back. On the whole, despite the COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown in 2020-21 cement prices remained firm, year on year basis with a gain of 7-8%.
Despite a few cities experiencing partial restrictions owing to rising COVID cases, transporters’ strike in Raipur for first three weeks of March 2021, and impact of Holi on last week’s volumes, the cement industry is estimated to have posted an all-time high monthly volume of 36 million tonnes in March 2021. Volumes transported through railways in March 2021 reported an 81% growth YoY owing to strong demand in the current year helped by low base of last year. Last year in March 2020, sales were affected due to 9 days of lockdown.
Dealers are however, slightly apprehensive about the sustainability of the recent price hike and expect the industry to roll back at least part of it as the month progresses. They cite the instances of partial lockdown in Maharashtra and elsewhere which may affect the construction activities and eventually the demand for the material. Also, there are some reports of reverse migration of some migrant workers taking place which may affect the construction activities in the region.