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Brick prices half of 2008 despite jump

Brick prices half of 2008 despite jump

BRICK prices jumped about 32 percent on last month due to increased demand, though prices still sit bellow highs seen before the financial crisis, brick makers said yesterday.

Lots of 10,000 bricks now trade for US$520, up from last month’s figure of $350, with excess demand caused by improvement in the construction industry, officials at brick manufacturers Handicraft Produce Bricks said yesterday.

At the height of the construction boom in 2008, prices hit $1,300 for 10,000 bricks, according to Sor Chanthy, owner of the Kandal province firm.

“Even though we are in the rainy season, activity on construction sites continues, especially on individual home and housing development projects for sale.”

She added that the rise in prices was in line with demand within the construction sector.

Although sector growth is recognised as being beneficial to the cost of bricks, Star Diamond Brick Factory Director Lay Seng Hoeun cited a lack of labour as an obstacle to the industry’s progression.

“We are so happy with the high [brick] prices, but now we cannot keep up with customer’s demands, due to a lack of workers,” he said.

“It is very difficult to find people working in brick making” in Cambodia, due to an increase in migration to neighbouring countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, in order to find work, he claimed.

Producers also expect prices to decrease later in the year due to growth in Vietnamese bricks imports, Lay Seng Hoeun said.

“We are very concerned with Vietnam’s brick imports into the Kingdom, and expect prices to go down in the coming months.”

The Kandal province manufacturer presently sells lots for between $460 and $510, up from $330 and $360 on average in May.

Teng Rity, Marketing Manager at the $600 million development Grand Phnom Penh International City, said yesterday that construction material prices had risen since the beginning of the year.

“The prices are up,” he said. “It slightly affects our project, but it is not a big concern for us.”

There are many construction projects still under way, said Director of Construction Department of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Lao Tip Seiha, who added that “there has been increased activity in the sector this year”.

Data released by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction last week shows officials approved 696 construction projects nationwide worth a combined estimate of $482 million in the first four months of 2011.

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