KARACHI: After hitting an all-time high of Rs139,500-142,500 per tonne in the third week of January, the price of steel bars have gone down to Rs132,500-135,000, builders said on Wednesday.
Arif Jeeva, a former chairman of the Association of Builders and Developers, said the prices are still high and the government should take action for providing affordable housing to lower-middle class.
Makers have been pushing up the steel rebar rates from Nov 2020 blaming costly steel scrap on world market. Prices were hovering between Rs110,000-113,000 per tonne.
As per data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the average per tonne price of imported iron and steel scrap during 7MFY21 plunged to $356 from $390.
Total iron and steel scrap imports swelled to 3.116m tonnes costing $1.110 bn to the exchequer in 7MFY21 as compared to 2.443m tonnes valuing $953m in 7MFY20.
The average price of imported scrap rose to $370 per tonne from $353 in Dec 2020.
Imports in Jan 2021 slightly fell to 435,458 tonnes ($161m) as compared to 473,875 tonnes ($167m) in Dec 2020.
Steel bar prices swelled sharply at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan is determined to provide low-cost housing for the masses.
The share of steel bars in total construction cost of a high-rise project hovers between 40-45 per cent, while in the housing project it is around 15-20pc.
In Dec 2020, the prime minister had formed a committee comprising industries minister, FBR chairman, chairman of the Naya Pakistan Housing Development Authority and the private sector stakeholders to look into rising steel bar prices and come up with a solution.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021