With rise in iron ore rates, steel companies in India hike prices by Rs 750 a tonne after 4 months

Taking cues from the global market, domestic primary steel producers have raised prices of steel by Rs 750 per tonne from February 1. This is the first hike in domestic steel prices since October. Domestic steel prices were in the range of Rs 42,000-44,000 per tonne depending upon various products.

Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel & Power, Tata Steel, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd and Steel Authority of India (SAIL) are among the other primary steel producers in the country.

Globally, steel prices have risen on account of rise in iron ore prices–a key raw material used in the making of steel. The $40 per tonne hike in global steel prices has prompted domestic steel producers to raise prices in the domestic market even as local iron ore prices remain weak as against global ore. Global steel price trend is also firm due to falling production in China.

Iron ore prices rose in the global markets after an accident in Brazil, one of the major exporters in the World. The global industry is expected the demand to go up from next week, which would support a positive price outlook for the industry. Back home, however, miners including state owned miner NMDC have been reducing prices over the last five months. NMDC had cut prices by 30 per cent since October last year.

Meanwhile, rating agency ICRA said that supply from Brazil has been impacted due to the tailing dam collapse in one of the mines there and going forward safety measures expected to be more stringent at the mines in Brazil. However, there is sufficient iron ore available in India and is likely to ensure that ore prices do not inch up in near term due to this global event.

Domestic iron ore supplies would exceed the demand by around 25 million tonne, and the situation is unlikely to change materially in FY20 when most of the merchant mining leases would expire in March 2020.

The total iron ore requirement in India for FY19 is 201.2 million tonne, while the estimated domestic iron ore production is 210 million tonne with imports at 15.7 million. This leaves the country with a 24.5 million tonne surplus iron ore during the year. Increased production in Odisha during the fiscal would more than offset the production loss in Goa due to regulatory issues, said the ICRA report.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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