Saudi cement producers will meet government officials soon to discuss lifting the ban on their exports by around 20 per cent, a Saudi daily reported on Thursday.
The Gulf Kingdom’s cement companies will in turn ensure a two-month supply for the local market, the Arabic language Alyaum newspaper said, quoting Abdullah Ridwan, chairman of the construction and property committee at the Jeddah chamber of commerce and industry.
“The cement companies in the Kingdom are preparing to meet representatives from the commerce and industry ministry to discuss allowing them to export 20 per cent of their production……if the export is approved, the companies will be committed to supplying the local market with production for two months,” he said without specifying a date for the talks.
Ridwan said cement supply in the Saudi market is currently higher than demand, warning that some cement firms could suspend production if they are not allowed to export their surplus output.
“This is because demand is currently weak…if the companies are allowed to export that quantity, this will positively affect the market and their business,” he said.
The paper quoted a Saudi cement company executive as saying cement could be exported to the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members as well as Sudan and other African nations, Spain and Latin America.
“The cement companies in the Kingdom need to export because they have been adversely affected by the increase in domestic fuel prices…we will give guarantees to provide the local market with sufficient cement quantities in case the commerce and industry ministry agrees to partially lift the ban on exports, “ said Safar Dhafeer, CEO of Southern Province Cement Co.
He expected cement demand in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, to remain almost unchanged at around 60 million tonnes in 2016 compared with 2015.