Cement prices to be reasonable: DIPP Secretary

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) With liberal import regime and capacity expansion, the government today said it expects the cement price to be reasonable in future.

''The prices has been stable for quite sometime... we hope that the situation will be reasonable,'' Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ajay Shankar told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here.

The cement industry was fully decontrolled in 1989 and delicenced in July 1991 to help it carry out its expansion plans, said the official of DIPP, an arm of Commerce and Industry Ministry.

The indusrty has expanded its capacity to 177 million tonnes during 2006-07, Mr Shankar added.

The statement is seen very vital as the industry analysts had earlier said cement prices are expected to start picking up from January onward.

Recent ICRA Industry Monitor report said the industry is expected to add 111 MTPA to its annual capacity by the end of 2009-10.

Installed capacity is expected to rise from 166 MTPA in FY07 to 186 MTPA by end of financial year 2008, and 219 MTPA by end of FY09, and up to 241 MTPA by FY10-end.

Despite an addition of six million tonnes of capacity between March and July, the utilisation has been as high as 96.9 per during the period.

Domestic cement consumption for the first half of the financial year was 53.62 million tonnes, up 10.9 per cent from the same period last year.

The report said considering an expected production and consumption growth of 9-10 per cent during this year, the demand-supply position is expected to improve from 2008-09 onwards, which may stabilise price of cement.

UNI

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