(Business in Cameroon) - On July 13, 2021, aluminium producer ALUCAM announced the suspension of the about 8% increase in its prices it previously said would be effective from July 12, 2021. Without providing further details, the aluminium giant indicated that the suspension was due to internal administrative reasons.
Sources close to the case believe however that the announced price hike was suspended because of pressures exercised by the government, through the Ministry of Trade, which is against the price hike.
In a note sent to its clients on July 9, 2021, to announce the price hike, ALUCAM claimed the increase was due to the rise in the prices of its raw materials and the additional costs incurred due to logistics chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
This suspension averts the speculation fears, which would have been harmful to consumers. Indeed, the immediate consequence of the price hike would have been an increase in the price of roofing sheets manufactured by Socatral (a division of ALUCAM) and local firms. Ultimately, this rise would have affected retail prices offered by Alubassa, another division of ALUCAM that specializes in the manufacturing of cooking utensils.
Several sources think that the suspension of this price hike will soon be lifted given the company’s poor financial position and the international context marked by a rise in its prices of alumina, the ore needed for aluminium production. On dedicated platforms, we learn that the price per ton of that ore has risen by over 52.5% within 12 months, from US$1,663 on July 17, 2020, to US$2,539 on July 12, 2021. Also, freight costs have skyrocketed due to disruptions in the logistics chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Brice R. Mbodiam