Despite the Covid-19 and nationwide lockdown cement prices remained firm, year on year basis with a gain of 7-8%. Month on month basis too there was net gain (despite some rollback) in the cement prices as the demand remained strong in certain regions. Most of the regions faced certain local issues which had some impact on the price.
In Western region, Maharashtra witnessed sharp price rise due to curtailment of supply from Chhattisgarh as well as from Telangana and Gulbarga cluster in Karnataka. Strong demand from infrastructure sector pushed up the demand thereby creating demand supply mismatch which had an impact on the price. However, price rise in Gujarat was not that steep as there was not much supply disruption. The trade prices in Ahmedabad increased by Rs15/bag but were backed with trade discounts leaving prices flat MoM.
Prices in eastern region too increased by 9% MoM due to revision of freight rates in Chhattisgarh and lack of material availability in West Bengal. Bihar and West Bengal also were impacted with limited clinker availability leading to price hikes. Transport strike in Chhattisgarh also impacted the price to an extent.
Prices were range bound in southern region though overall demand was steadily gaining pace in Telangana and pre-election demand in Tamil Nadu. Kerala however was impacted due to the resurfacing of the COVID pandemic and effectively prices also weakened. Limited supply pushed up prices in Bengaluru. Further, clinker scarcity in southern regions kept the availability of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) in check and thereby supported the prices from sliding down in the trade segment.
Cement prices in Central and North region were listless as the demand was flat despite the busy March month due to weak rural demand. As a result, price went up marginally by 1% MoM basis.
Demand is expected to pick up sharply in April as the Holi festival is over which may push the prices further up. This week cement manufacturers are expected to hike the prices by Rs 15-20 per bag.