The gray cement has recently been rare. The causes of this scarcity which provided the opportunity for some persons to sell this materiel 180 DT DT and 185 per tonne, against 150 DT as rated price, are not however structural, but purely cyclical. Indeed, according to our information taken from official sources, declining supply of gray cement on the Tunisian market is due to two factors.
First stops of cement plants for the purpose of maintenance, nonetheless decided jointly with Tunisian businesses. Cement plants should at the same period of the first quarter of every year stop furnaces or mills, for maintenance, at the risk of direct damage affecting their production tools. The choice of the winter period, for technical maintenance, is not fortuitous.
The winter period is generally known to be that of low demand. The climate does not encourage, indeed, the opening of worksites, private or public, in such period. The 6 plants had yet made up the necessary stocks. This is so workable that the production of these 6 units could generate a surplus of one million tons per year. This was all the more possible that Tunisian clinker stock recorded even a growth of 35% at the beginning of this plants’ scheduled rest period.
Secondly, an unexpected growth of domestic demand in cement gray. A demand which had already increased, last December, by 30% thanks to ceasing exports to neighboring countries . The demand however quickly rebounded, with an average of 12% over the last three months of the current year, against an average that not exceeded 3.5%, in such period.
Professional s explained this demand upturn by the effects although delayed in time, of exceptional recovery measures decided last year by the Tunisian Head of State and also by incentives to business creation.
One could easily understand that different worksites, especially public, are launched in Tunisia to boost economy and sustain employment. Very attentive to this market in Tunisia, Ministry of Commerce promptly brought together the main stakeholders in the loop of production and consumption, and made the required decision to ensure proper supply of the domestic market. The ministry decided to stop all export of this sensitive product.
The decision may seem inappropriate since occurring before the month of June, period usually agreed both businesses and the ministry to devote the whole production to local market, but it could not be explained, easily, by the importance of market where local prices for this product are also rated.
The reaction of the Tunisian Ministry of Trade did not stop there. In cooperation and coordination with all businesses of the sector, the 6 plants quickly restarted working and even at full blast. Some units, according to professional sources, turn to a rate of 7500 tonnes per day.
The current average of cement production carried out by the 6 units, is 25 miles tons / day, according Amor Nsairi, Chairman of the union chamber of cement producers , for estimated average needs of more than 17 thousand tons. Whereof ensure all the required demand, even if its growth is maintained. Many professionals think, in fact, that effects of the stimulus plan and revival measures, public and private construction sites launched here and there, around the country will continue to boost demand and advocate willingly a growth of production.