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Steppe sees cement sales fall in 1Q17

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World Cement,

Steppe Cement’s cement sales dropped by 35% year on year in 1Q17, according to the company’s latest market update, after a 5% contraction the cement market in Kazakhstan.

Cement consumption was particularly low in March – 15% down year on year – due to extended holidays. Steppe expects the country’s cement demand overall to fall to 8.5 million t this year, compared to 8.9 million t in 2016.

In response, the LSE-listed company continued to increase prices of its cement. Average prices for delivered cement for the quarter were KZT 12 257 per tonne (ex VAT), compared to KZT10 494 per tonne last year – and increase of 17%. Ex-factory prices rose by 21% to KZT10 500.

As a result of the price increases, Steppe has seen its market share fall from 16% in 2016 to 10% in 1Q17. The company maintains a significant clinker stock, however, in readiness for the busier summer season.

Cement exports from Kazakhstan have also jumped as a result of the fall in domestic cement demand. In 1Q17, exports were up 75% on the previous year and Steppe expects the rest of the year to follow a similar pattern.

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