TIMING: No reason to raise cement price now, says REHDA past president
The surprise increase in cement price from August 1 has shocked the property and construction industry which was of the view that there is actually an oversupply of cement and hence no reason to raise the price. “Cement manufacturers are raising the price by RM1 per 50 kg pack and RM20 per metric tonne. Cement is a major item in the construction industry and under the circumstances, it is definitely the wrong time to raise the price,” said Real Estate and Housing Developers‘ Association Malaysia (REHDA) Immediate Past President Datuk Ng Seing Liong.
He added that the cement industry is an oligopoly controlled by a few players and the move is puzzling as there is no shortage of cement while petrol prices has come down. “Even if there is a shortage, it is artificial and self-created. Whereas steel price is more open, whoever wants to import can do so, cement has a lifeline of 30 days and will harden after that,” said Ng.
However, Sarawak‘s sole cement producer CMS Cement Sdn Bhd reportedly has no intention of raising cement price.
On the outlook for the property industry, Datuk Ng said that the second half of 2012 will see a slight downtrend due to the uncertainty in the Euro zone. “The first half was quite stable and the commercial and industrial sectors have performed quite strongly,” the past president of REHDA said. Ng was speaking at a press conference to announce the next MAPEX (Malaysia Property Expo) to be held in Mid Valley from 19–21 October.
“We have three months to go and have 70–80 booths left out of 227,” said Ng, who is also the organising chairman of MAPEX. He added that his vision is to make MAPEX an international event that attracts international visitors looking for properties worldwide. This would pave the way for Kuala Lumpur to be a property hub where people from all over especially ASEAN can come to check out properties in other parts of the world.
Towards this end, MAPEX is working with international exhibition organiser MIPIM Asia to promote MAPEX 2013 as an international platform. The three-day MAPEX in October is expected to draw 50,000 visitors with expected sales of RM500 million, said Ng.