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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

ECA denies targeting steel manufacturers with price-fixing probe

ECA denies targeting steel manufacturers in price-fixing probe: The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) denied on Tuesday reports published in Al Borsa that it is investigating steel manufacturers on antitrust allegations. “The authority has received no complaints against the sector, but has conducted a standard periodical review of the steel and cement industries,” the ECA said in a statement. It notes that it will announce the results of the review in the coming days. The story, which ran on Monday, heavily quotes Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) head Atef Yacoub’s objections to the steel industries operations. He had raised concerns over the drop in their output, suggesting an attempt to raise prices. It is perhaps for the this reason the ECA concluded its statement by noting that it is the only government body with exclusive jurisdiction to investigate antitrust issues.

That’s not stopping Yakoub, who is now wagging his finger at the cement industry. The ECA head said that recent spikes in cement prices were “unjustified,” in a statement to Al Mal which echoes his tone on the steel industry. He then criticizes companies justifying the price increases on inflation and a lack of supply after the temporary shuttering of Al Arish Cement, calling them “excuses.”

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