Cement crisis worsens in Saudi
A cement crisis resulting from illegal trading and a steep hike in prices is spreading from Jeddah and Madina to other major cities and regions in Saudi Arabia.
In Jeddah, a bag of cement now costs over SR25 and most dealings take place through middlemen whereas in Madina the prices of cement per bag have shot up by SR20. Subsequently, prices of ready-mix concrete shot up 30 percent in Jeddah and other parts of the western region. Ready-mix concrete manufacturers attributed the steep hike in prices to a five-week long crisis in cement supply. According to a report in Al-Eqtisadiah business daily, a number of ready-mix concrete factories in the Eastern Province hiked the prices of liquid cement on Wednesday.
In Jeddah, consumers say that there is adequate supply of cement but only in the black market. Consumers can buy the required quantity through middlemen if they are ready to pay SR25 per bag or more. They can have it delivered at their work site within 24 hours after the purchase but don't expect an invoice. Many consumers, especially contractors and realtors, are forced to buy cement and other construction materials at a higher rate to implement their construction projects on time.
Manufacturers of ready-mix concrete have sought the urgent intervention of authorities to make available an adequate supply of cement and solve the shortages experienced by the construction industry. Chairman of the committee for contractors and ready-mix concrete at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Ridwan urged the authorities to intervene and make available an adequate quantity of cement in the local market to contain the soaring prices.