Builders go on steel bar-buying ‘strike’ in Pakistan

Members of the Association of Builders and Developers in Pakistan are refusing to unload steel bars on to construction sites for a week in protest at a sharp price increase. They will review the situation on 15 February, association chairman Altaf Tai said.

Builders face having to pay up to an “unprecedented” PKR303,500 /t ($1,116 /t, €1,046 /t) for steel bars when the price should be no more than PKR250,000 /t based on the current steel scrap cost of $470 /t, including taxes and duties on imports, he added.

Tai claimed steel bar manufacturers are making windfall profits in the absence of any regulatory checks by the government, local newspaper the Dawn reported.

There is the option of bringing in finished steel bars costing PKR225,000 /t to PKR230,000 /t from Iran in just ten days under barter trade, he added.

In response Wajid Bukhari, secretary-general of the Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers, said a lack of scrap imports meant the market has to rely on domestic supply and prices.

Local scrap is currently selling for PKR210 /kg to PKP220 /kg, up from a previous PKR128 /kg and steel bar prices had jumped to reflect that change.

Also, steel mills are running on 25% which has resulted in a drastic increase in production costs, he added.

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