x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Prices rise for building materials

Prices of building materials in the Middle East rise by as much as 15 per cent because of higher demand and freight costs.

The prices of building materials in the Middle East have risen by as much as 15 per cent in April from March because of higher demand and freight costs, and the end of excess stocks of reinforced steel. According to several Dubai-based suppliers, steel prices rose from US$430 (Dh1,579) to nearly $500 per tonne. "Prices are higher because of higher freight charges for shipment," said Harish Sherigan, the managing director of ACME Building Material Trading. "This is due to higher oil prices and the fact that there are not as many ships, because there is not much production."

Freight costs more than doubled last month to $650 (Dh2,387) from $300 in March for a 20-foot container from China and Malaysia. A 40-ft container rose to $800 from $550. Companies buying to replace stock accounted for increased demand for materials such as reinforced steel, said Rizwan Sajan, the chairman of Danube Building Materials. "For the last six months in the GCC, there was hardly any buying," he said. "People started buying in March-April." But suppliers say this may not be a long-awaited recovery. Sameh Hassan, the chief executive of Madar Holding said: "The construction market is still unpredictable." ngillet@thenational.ae