Economy January 7, 2015 | 7:59 am

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Dominican Republic cement-makers upbeat on falling prices

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Cement Producers Association (Adocem) president Carlos E. Gonzalez on Tuesday urged the government and the private sector to take advantage of lower cement prices to boost housing construction.

He said lower oil prices spurs optimism in the cement industry, because it allows the government and the private sector more savings which can be channeled to Dominican Republic’s construction sector, taking advantage of other factors such as falling cement prices and the Mortgage Market Development and Trust Law 189-11.

"It’s a unique opportunity for the consumer, because prices are so low, that is, in real terms the price of cement is now the lowest in the country’s history," Gonzalez said, quoted by

He said as fuel prices, the electric and oil bills and transport costs fall, the government also saves funds, for which consumer and the State are expected to have more money to invest, which could be reflected in higher consumption.

The business leader also noted that Law 189-11 is an added incentive to provide more opportunities, for which he hopes consumers and the government are "clever and crafty" to take advantage of low cement prices and build houses.

Gonzalez stressed that an investment in housing improves the standard of living, generates a family asset and is an investment that boosts the Dominican economy because it positively impacts other sectors.

He said the cement industry saw the market with caution three months ago when it capped a two-year fall in prices. He said however that what happened in recent weeks with falling oil prices sparks a positive outlook.

Industry growth

The head of Adocem revealed that the country’s cement industry grew 18% in 2014, calling it a positive surprise because it was 16% in 2013, taking into account the domestic industry’s 60 percent production overcapacity.

The also president of Cemex Dominicana attributes the growth to the strong economy, which maintains a 7% growth, and the momentum in both the public and private construction sectors.

Gonzalez added that the Government’s school construction program and the development of public and private housing projects are also a big boost.

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