Key building materials such as steel rods and cement have seen their prices decline significantly in the last three months mainly due to sluggish demand, traders said.
As it is difficult to carry out the construction work during the monsoon, the demand for building materials has taken a hit, they said.
The insiders, however, are optimistic that the prices are likely to go up in the coming days with the advent of dry season.
Market sources in old Dhaka, Tejgaon and Paltan areas said prices of steel rods slumped by Tk 4,000 to Tk 5,000 per tonne, depending on brands and grades.
The best quality 500W or 72-grade steel rods were selling in between Tk 56,000 and Tk 64,000 per tonne on Monday, said a proprietor of an outlet near the Tanti Bazar intersection.
"The 72-grade rods manufactured by the BSRM (Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills), which is said to be the best valued product, is now selling at Tk 64,500 per tonne," said Imam Hossain, owner of Akik and Sifat Steel Corporation.
But during the post-budget period in July, the price of the same rod went up as high as Tk 70,000 per tonne, he said.
The price of 500W grade rod, manufactured by the Bandar Steel Industries (BSI), is now Tk 57,000 per tonne, down from Tk 64,000 in July, said the trader.
Construction work, especially in the private sector, loses its steam during the rainy season, which translates into price drop, said Azhar Uddin, a representative of Khairuddin and Brothers, a dealer.
The weak demand has led to the price slump at present, he added.
The prices of steel rods started decreasing in late August after a rise in July, he said.
According to sources, there are more than 50 major steel manufacturing companies in the country. The figure will be five to six times higher if the smaller mills are taken into tally.
Contacted, owner of Shahriar Steel Mills Ltd. (SSRM) SK Masadul Alam Masud said a decline in the price of scrap iron in the international market is another reason behind the low price in the country.
"Scrap iron is now selling at US$320 per tonne, down from $350 several months ago," he said.
Many medium steel mills slash the prices during the rainy season to sustain their business, creating an impact on the price situation, said Mr Masud, also a former chairman of Bangladesh Steel Manufacturers Association (BSMA).
Meanwhile, the price of cement has also declined by Tk 40-50 per bag weighing 50 kg, compared to the prices in July, traders said.
Khalilur Rahman, a trader in the city's Green Road area, said he sells cement of various brands, including Shah Cement, Premiere Cement, Scan Cement and Fresh Cement.
"Each 50-kg bag of cement is now selling at between Tk 420 and Tk 460, depending on the brands," he said.
He also said the millers had increased the price of cement in July following an increase in tax and gas tariffs for the industrial units.
However, the price of bricks has remained stable since the beginning of this year, sources said.
Anwar Hossain, a representative of Ismita Bricks, a trading house in the city's Gabtoli area, said he sells several types of bricks.
"A truckload or 3,000 pieces of finest quality of bricks now cost Tk 23,000 to Tk 24,000," he said.
There is another variety of bricks, which are selling at between Tk 17,000 to Tk18,000 per truckload of bricks, he said.
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