Trade Ministry monitoring cement industry

The Trade Ministry has vowed to take necessary measures to prevent price increases and ease supply problems in the cement market.

The ministry said in a statement that it is monitoring developments in the construction sector, which has a considerable weight for the Turkish economy, adding that it is looking into the foreign trade angle.

The statement recalled a directive issued in September 2021 which added cement and clinker to the list of products which require a permission to be exported. “This directive is designed to monitor the exports of cement and clinker products which should be primarily used to meet local demand,” the statement added.

The ministry has received complaints regarding the supply shortages in the local market and observed increases in the prices of those products in the past two months, the statement said.

“Our ministry will take necessary steps swiftly in order to prevent price increases and ease supply shortages. If those steps fail to yield the desired results, we will not hesitate to introduce additional measures.”

Some 80 million tons of cement are produced annually in Türkiye. Around 50 million tons of this cement are consumed locally while the remaining 30 million tons are sold to foreign markets, people from the industry said.

The Finance Ministry, the Trade Ministry and the Competition Board in the past months frequently inspected cement companies, looking into the sale prices and export prices, they said.

Price spikes in cement products must be brought under control, said Tahir Tellioğlu, the head of the Contractors’ Confederation (İMKON). “Otherwise the government’s efforts to help low and middle-income groups buy a house will take a hit.”

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported last week the construction cost index rose by 103.5 percent in November 2022 from a year ago, albeit easing from the 117 percent increase in the previous month.

The index for construction materials cost grew 109 percent year-on-year.