Construction material prices flat as rains approach

Prices for most construction materials have bucked the normal seasonal trend by remaining flat, several wholesalers said last week.

The one commodity that is rising in price is bricks, said U Than Tun, the owner of U Than Tun and Brothers brick wholesale shop in South Dagon township.

“Brick prices will continue rising because the regular brick making season is nearly finished,” he said.

He said that when the monsoon arrived in late April or early May, many brickmakers would shutter their operations because the bricks are made and baked in the open. Production will not restart until October or November.

“Many brickmakers and developers have already started to stockpile bricks while the price is still low but that is also pushing up demand and prices,” he said.

Bricks were trading for K78-K90 but would likely rise to K90-100 by the end of March, U Than Tun said.

“Prices will stay at that level or even rise until the rains stop,” he added.

He said another factor was helping to drive brick demand – a rumoured government directive to owners of industrial zone plots to build factories or sell the plots.

“I’ve heard the government is forcing landowners at industrial zones to develop their plots,” he said.

Daw Mi Mi Tun, the manager of Shwe Myittar wholesale shop in Insein township, said several factors were keeping most construction material prices low this year. She said supply had kept pace with demand, which was about the same as last year.

Daw Mi Mi Tun said the strong kyat had meant wholesalers had been able to easily – and cheaply – purchase enough supplies from abroad, especially Thailand. She added that it was also easier for companies to import supplies than it had been in previous years.

U Aung Myint, the owner of Yadanar Aung bricks, sand, cement and gravel wholesale shop in Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, said other construction material prices had stayed flat for the dry season and not gradually increased, as is normally the case. Even bricks had increased in price only marginally, he added.

“In my opinion prices are unlikely to change much more this summer, although I do expect brick prices to increase in mid-April – after the Thingyan festival – because production will start to wind down,” U Aung Myint said.

He said that brick prices were K75-K98 in early March and might increase to K80-100 in the coming month.

“Prices increased slightly two months ago but are calm now,” he said.

He added that demand for other construction materials was about the same as last year.

“The most popular cement, Elephant brand from Thailand, is selling for about K4900 a bag [49 kilograms], while Diamond, which also comes from Thailand, costs about K4700,” he said.

He said gravel was selling for about K60,000 a pitch (100 cubic feet).

Daw Thandar, the owner of Naing 9 construction materials wholesale shop in Insein township, confirmed that prices for most goods had been flat this dry season. “And I don’t think prices will increase in the next two or three months, actually I think they are likely to fall a little,” she said, adding that demand was slightly higher than during the same period last year.

But Daw Ohnmar, the owner of Shwe Myitta wholesale construction materials shop in South Dagon township, said demand was stronger last year.

“Our sales last year were much better but that differs from shop to shop and I’m not able to comment on the whole market,” she said.

She added that 10-millimetre-thick iron bar was selling for K60,000 a tonne, down from K64,000 in November.

Source: Myanmar Times

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