Dealer survey reveals that cement price has fallen from the May 2020 level but is still higher as compared to the average price in the fourth quarter of last financial year. Cement prices have declined by Rs 5-10/bag compared to May 2020 in the trade segment in most of the markets. Cement prices have corrected more steeply, by Rs 15-20/bag, in some of the markets in Maharashtra as most of the demand centres in the state are still reeling under COVID. However, prices are significantly higher than Q4FY20 average across regions. Cement prices are up by around Rs 15/bag in the Central markets, Rs 20/bag in the North markets, Rs 20-30/bag in the East markets, Rs 5-10/bag in the West markets and Rs 30-80/bag in the South markets compared with March 2020.
Surprisingly, cement demand has remained better than expectation in the North, Central and East markets. If the prevailing trend is any indication demand in June in the North market is likely to be at the same level as was in last year or may be slightly less. In the East region, volumes are expected to be better than last year in most of the markets as demand from individual housing has recovered in urban markets. In the Central markets, demand is better than May2020, especially from rural areas, and volumes may be down only 15-20% yoy now. However, Western and Southern markets present a different picture as the construction activities in the region are impacted by reverse migration of migrant workers. Demand for cement in these markets is likely to be down by 30-40% in June.
Overall, the demand is primarily driven by the rural and semi-urban areas. There has been some improvement in demand recently from government projects especially the construction of roads/highways.