Cement prices are seen softening a little with dealers in Kochi citing import from countries such as Pakistan emerging as a decisive factor in the market. Though cement manufacturers in Tamil Nadu, who dominate the Kerala market, have not lowered prices, Andhra Pradesh-based companies are supplying the product at lower levels here. Cement from Pakistan too is selling at such lower prices. Cement from Tamil Nadu-based companies is selling at Rs.300-305 a 50-kg bag and from Andhra Pradesh at Rs.250-255. Cement from Pakistan is selling between Rs.250 and Rs.260.

There is a cut down in supply, though there is no scarcity, a dealer says. Reports indicate that cement demand has firmed up with the end of the rains. Figures from cement manufacturers indicate that total cement production and despatches till the month of September this financial year is higher than during the corresponding period last year.

The production stands at 81.54 million tonnes compared with the 77.22 million tonnes for the corresponding period.

K.A. MARTIN