Spain's cement exports fell 5.9% in September from the same month last year, pushed by surging electricity prices that have forced many plants to slow or halt activity, industry group Oficemen said on Wednesday.

September's exports of 482,241 tonnes were 30,000 tonnes fewer than in the same period last year.

Electricity bills play a key role in the industry's variable production costs, Oficemen said, pointing to soaring energy costs as the factor behind a downward trend in exports.

"The current electricity prices are a major threat to the competitiveness of the sector," Oficemen's president Jose Manuel Cascajero said in a statement.

"It is urgent to speed up the necessary measures to guarantee the industrial sectors are covered."

Spanish electricity prices rose almost 11% in September and were up 44% across the 12 months prior, data from the National Statistics Institute showed, hurting Spain, a big player in global construction, as it emerges from its COVID-19 paralysis.

Without tax cuts approved by the government during the summer, electricity prices would have risen 61%, carrying inflation to 4.5%, the INE said. 

This month the European Union said it would examine now its power market is run and consider proposals to revamp regulations within the bloc, as it seeks to keep on track plans to tackle climate change amid record energy costs. 

Cement consumption in Spain rose 4.4% to 1.3 million tonnes in September over the corresponding month in 2020, when the country was imposing padnemic control measures.

(Reporting by Aida Pelaez-Fernandez; Additional reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Inti Landauro and Clarence Fernandez) ((; +48 58 769 65 94;))