India’s domestic steel firms set to hike prices by Rs 1,000 a tonne from March 1, 2019; third rise since February 2019

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Prompted by strong demand growth in the domestic market, steel producers are set to hike product prices by Rs 1,000 a tonne from March 1. This will be the third rise in prices since February 1, Business Standard reports. A growing demand for steel across sectors is prompting large producers of steel to go ahead with  yet another price hike.

Tata Steel, Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel, state-owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel & Power, and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited are among top steel producers in the country. They had earlier raised product prices by Rs 750 a tonne on February 1 after a gap of four months, and followed it up with another Rs 1,000 hike in the third week of February.

Besides a spurt in demand, industry players attribute the increase in steel prices to a 17 per cent increase in iron ore prices by NMDC.

Among the large steel producers, JSW Steel is the only player that buys ore from state-owned NMDC, while most other producers have captive source of ore. Besides, a majority of NMDC’s iron ore is lifted by the domestic sponge iron industry.

The consumption of finished steel in India grew by 7.9 per cent during April-December 2018 as against 7.5 per cent in the corresponding period a year ago, a CARE Ratings report said.

On the other hand, domestic steel prices are likely to remain 5 per cent lower (on an average) on a year-on-year basis during FY20, considering that the input cost remains stable, said CARE ratings. However, an increase in domestic consumption during FY20 is expected to restrict any sharp fall in domestic steel prices, it said.

“Domestic consumption of steel is expected to rise in the range of 5.5-7.5 per cent during FY20. We believe the consumption of long steel products to grow at a faster pace compared to flat steel products during the year mainly on account of the government’s focus on India’s infrastructure,” said CARE Ratings.

Long steel products are used in infrastructure and construction, while flat steel finds wide application in the auto industry.

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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