Prices of building materials increase, iron rods, cement hardest hit

Market prices of iron rods and cement have seen significant increases during the first quarter of the year compared to other building materials such as roofing sheets and paints. A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) revealed that traders in cement have consistently experienced price hikes, even when fuel prices remained stable or seen marginal downward review. Mr Selasi Pomenaya, a trader in building materials, noted that the prices of all three grades of cement produced by Ghana Cement (GHACEM) have increased. Super Cool, previously sold for GHS82, now costs GhS88; Super Rapid, initially GHS87 is now GHS95; and Super Strong, sold at GHS95, now goes for GHS105. However, Mr Pomenaya said roofing sheet prices had decreased since December 2023, remaining stable since then. He said prices of brands of paint had not seen any fluctuations this year. For example, a packet of aluminum sheet (rough) is currently selling at GHS2,300, down from GHS2,500, while smooth aluminum sheets are now priced at GHS2,100, an increase from GHS1,900. The 20-liter shield paint is sold at GHS650, and the 10-liter at GHS350, while the 10-liter Leyland paint is sold at GHS220. 'I don't know what is causing the changes in prices, when we go to the producers and prices have increased or decreased, we buy and also increase or decrease the prices,' he said. Mr Pomenaya added that although business was slow, he could not afford to stay at home idle. The GNA also discovered that a tonne of iron rods, previously sold at GHS6,500, was now being sold at GHS7,000 and above. Some iron rod traders said the price was highly volatile, making it difficult to provide a specific selling price to potential buyers. Meanwhile, the Ghana cedi continue to experience a decline in value against the US Dollar and other major trading currencies. In January this year, GHS1 was equivalent to $11.91, but by April 2024, the same cedi was equivalent to about $14.42. The Ghana Statistical Service said Ghana's inflation rate had also seen fluctuat ions, going from 23.5 per cent in January 2024 to 23.2 per cent in February and then rising to 25.8 per cent in March. These factors - inflation and currency depreciation - have contributed to the increasing prices of goods and services in the country, coupled with increased transportation fares due to unstable fuel prices, leading to a higher cost of living. Source: Ghana News Agency