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Export ban on cement enforced rigorously.

Summary: RIYADH: The Ministry of Commerce and the department of customs have tightened their surveillance on Saudi cement outlets to ensure a strict implementation of the ban on exporting cement. The ban came into effect Saturday, business daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported Sunday quoting official sources from the ministry.

The sources said no cement or clinker bricks had been exported since the ban was imposed. Only Bahrain was exempted from the ban and receives about 25,000 bags of cement per week. The daily noted that some cement companies took advantage of the grace period that preceded the start of the ban to export large quantities of cement. Keen not to confuse or disturb the companies, the ministry told them beforehand it would impose a complete ban on exports of cement after three days. The ministry's notice was also aimed at enabling factories to coordinate with transporters. The sources said the ministry held a meeting with all cement manufacturers about a month ago and informed them it might decide to stop cement exports. Following the ban on exports, Al-Jouf Cement Company announced it had increased its prices to SR260 per ton from SR200. The company said this was done to reduce the losses it might incur as a result of the ban. The financial outcome of this step might show in the company's accounts for the first quarter of the current year. The sources described the company's measures to be legal and according to the ministry's rules and regulations. They said the quantity of 1.2 million tons of cement -- previously exported every year -- would now be injected in the local market. The ministry said it stopped exports in order to put an end to the cement crisis. It asked factories to produce at full capacity to provide enough cement for local consumers. The cement shortage in Makkah is expected to end with the ban on exports and the extra 10,000 tons of cement, produced for Makkah region every day.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Feb 20, 2012
Words:344
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