Feedback from the cement dealer suggest that cement prices are expected to be firm in February and in subsequent months due to increased demand. Dealers in South expect sharp price hike of Rs 50 per bag in February though it remained muted in last few months. Also, cement prices are expected to go up in Maharashtra upto Rs 30 per bag in February. Price hike in North and East is expected to be slightly less and it may not be more than Rs 5-10 per bag.
However, cement consumers were a relieved lot in January as the price remained almost stable with all India price showing a minor fall of Re 1 per bag. In certain pockets like North and Central India, however, there was slight increase in the price due to increased demand. In some regions price was hiked in the beginning of the month which was later on rolled back due to muted demand.
Northern region in general saw a price increase of Rs 10 per bag in the beginning of the month. However, the price hike was not sustained and there was partial roll back later in the month due to muted demand. However, price was stable in Punjab which has been the case for the past couple of months.
Consumers in South were saved from price hike due to competitive pressure from the manufacturers. Kerala saw a price cut of Rs 10-15 per bag during the month which is considered steep as it has come on the back of Rs 10 per bag cut in December 2018. Southern region in general witnessed a muted price scenario despite the demand remaining robust.
In Western region, attempts by suppliers in Gujarat to hike price in January could not be sustained and the month ended with a net fall of Rs 5 per bag on month on month basis. In December 2018, cement price was hiked by Rs 5 per bag in Gujarat. Price scenario in Maharashtra was almost muted in January which was preceded by a weak December.
On the other hand, Eastern region witnessed moderate demand due to recent rains and winter season. As a result price fell by Rs 5-10 per bag in certain pockets.