LAHORE - Following reduction in oil prices for the last three consecutive months, the cement companies have taken the lead to cut the rates of cement up to Rs20 per bag.

Wholesale rate of a cement bag has declined to Rs470 and Rs480 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Rawalpindi region from an earlier Rs485-490 per bag. However the rate in Lahore has reduced to Rs490 per bag from earlier rate of Rs510 per bag before cut in oil prices.

The Cherat Cement has announced to drop the rate to Rs495 and Lucky Cement slashed the price to Rs497 from Rs520/bag. While the Bestway Cement reduced the price to Rs492 from Rs502/bag and Dewan Cement to Rs490 from Rs510/bag. Industry sources said some cement makers have now released the stock with new revised prices on bags, asking the dealers to transfer the benefits to end-customers.

It is to be noted that the government has trimmed the prices of petroleum products by nearly 30 percent for the three months following a freefall in international crude oil prices to five-year low. This downward trend had also a noticeable impact on the coal rate. The cost net freight of coal, which is a prime fuel for cement making, at Karachi port fell to around $80/metric ton from $110/metric ton.

The industry stakeholders appreciated the government efforts to reduce prices of different input materials, especially petroleum products, which have multiplier effects. Consequently, the industry, facing intense competition, has immediately started reducing the prices.