Rebound in cost of materials points to start of property recovery.
CONSTRUCTION material prices have risen in recent months, according to Cambodia’s largest building-materials supplier, lending support to government claims that the sector is showing signs of recovery.
Chip Mong Import Export and Construction Co Vice President Leang Meng said steel was selling at between US$600 and $630 per tonne, up 20 percent from between $500 and $530 per tonne in January this year. He said most of the gain came in the last two months of the year, with prices up 10 percent from November.
“Now is a good time for us,” he said. “Construction material sales are much better than last year because some delayed construction projects have restarted and many more have kicked off.”
Ministry of Commerce figures also put the price of steel at $600 per tonne as of this week, but show that prices have climbed just 5.35 percent from the start of the year.
Cement prices have remained relatively stable at between $90 and $95 per tonne since 2008, Leang Meng said. Ministry figures show a decline of 3.42 percent this year.
Chip Mong imports steel from Vietnam and sells wholesale to local building material suppliers, but Leang Meng declined to give import or sales figures, saying it was commercially sensitive information.
It is difficult to obtain figures from the government on construction-material imports. Figures from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port showed steel imports fell 77.88 percent over the first nine months of the year to 7,412 tonnes, while cement shipments to the Kingdom fell 23.12 percent to 37,772 tonnes.
In a September briefing on the state of the economy, International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative John Nelmes said building material imports were down about 35 percent year on year through September, while steel imports were down 25 percent.
Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction figures show 1,981 new projects were approved over the first 10 months of the year, up 16 percent on the same period in 2008.
Cam Paint Manufacturing Co Executive Director Soum Sambath said paint sales had doubled from mid-year to around 3,000 litres per day, and that prices had increased with demand by between 20 and 30 percent.
“In my observation, there have been a lot of new individual housing-construction projects, and some of the projects that were delayed last year are off and running again, which is driving up the price of materials,” he said.
National Valuers Association of Cambodia President Sung Bonna said housing projects had rebounded, but that there were still few large-scale construction projects in the pipeline.