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Cement price rise for Trinidad and Tobago

World Cement,

In Trinidad and Tobago, the price of cement has risen by 9.5%, taking the cost of a 42.5 kg bag to around TT$55. Following the increase, which has been made effective immediately, Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) issued a statement that the price increase follows a 4Q12 review of its pricing, as announced in July 2012. The review brought to light an increase in operating costs, specifically in the areas of energy, packaging and spares, and the company cited these as the reasoning behind the latest adjustment.

TCL’s pricing has remained largely stable over the last 4 years, and prior to this increase, the most recent change had been a price drop following the removal of a TT$13 surcharge. With consumers enjoying prices of around TT$49.5 in intervening time, the price of 42.5 kg bags is not even close to those surcharged levels, unavoidably levied as a result of last year’s labour unrest at the company.

However justifiable though, a permanent increase in pricing will always attract opposition. Indeed, Mikey Joseph, former president of the Contractors Association of Trinidad and Tobago, has called the 9.5% increase “unacceptable,” stating that contractors with ongoing contracts will be worst hit, as they will be hard pressed to recover materials costs that see an increase mid-project. That’s not to say that new contractors will avoid the sting of the pricing increase though. Joseph went on to say that this group will find the adjustment particularly hard to swallow, as customers’ quote expectations will be no different to those of a week prior. He said, “Our members are not pleased when this happens, especially when we don’t get a reminder of advice in advance.”

Although TCL warned in July 2012 that increases might come as a result of its review, Joseph said, “The market was taken by surprise by the increase.” With energy costs rising worldwide, this is a pattern being seen over and over. As the cost of power rises, so must the cost of cement.

Written by Jack Davidson.

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