Cement offerings for export have reportedly resumed at the Iran Mercantile Exchange (IME).
Isfahan Cement Company initiated the offering with 2000 tonnes of cement on Saturday, 1000 tonnes of which were traded on cash payment, according to Cemnet.
IRNA also quotes IME head Hamed Soltaninejad as saying:
“We intend to expand our export markets for cement and unify prices by exporting the commodity through IME.”
Government-enforced pricings and the subsequent lack of competition caused cement manufacturers to become disillusioned with the exchange and pull out of IME in 2012. Soltaninejad referred to the glut in the domestic cement market and emphasised that IME’s capability to carry out foreign transactions in dollars and euros.
“ Cement producers are currently going through a rough patch. They are grappling with weak demand at home, as a result of a dormant construction sector. They recently lost the Iraqi market, one of the main export destinations of Iranian cement. North African countries like Kenya and Ethiopia are currently being considered as alternative market,” he said.
Earlier, Mohammad Atabak with the Cement Industry Employers Association said cement prices were expected to rise about 15 per cent in late June, adding that the hike in prices is meant to compensate the rising production costs.
More than 15Mt of cement and clinker were exported in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16), with Iraq accounting for close to 65 per cent of this figure. Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar were other major destinations. Iran aims to increase production and exports to 120Mt and 32Mt respectively by the end of 2020.