TOPIC : Steel firms slash prices
Steel companies have reduced flat product prices by Rs 500-1,000 a tonne across categories in keeping with market conditions. Steel Authority of India has reduced prices by Rs 500-1,000 a tonne for flat steel. Prices of galvanised plain and galvanised corrugated sheets -- the demand for which is normally high during the season -- have also been reduced by the steel PSU. Essar Steel has cut prices by Rs 700-800, while Ispat Industries has dropped prices by Rs 500-800.
The industry is, however, optimistic that the market would remain stable and range-bound for the rest of the year. Globally, prices have dropped by $30, so prices may increase to the same extent. After the third quarter, there can be an increase. The expectation is in line with global forecast. ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, recently announced that it would maintain its current pricing structure for flat products in Europe for the third quarter. The company also announced that its production volume in the European market would be lower by 3-4 percent in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, as a result of mill outages.
The steel behemoth expects the move to reduce the level of inventory in the market, which was slightly inflated due to the recent surge in imports. While soft global prices is one of the reasons behind the drop, rupee appreciation against the dollar has also added to the pressure on pricing. Imports of hot rolled coils are priced at around Rs 26,000 a tonne, much lower than the domestic HRC prices, which are at Rs 35,000-37,000 a tonne. Imports have been on the rise due to the appreciation of the rupee against the dollar. As the consumption has also increased, imports, which were at 2.1 million tonne in 2005-06, increased to 3.9 million tonnes in 2006-07 and is expected to cross the 4-million tonne mark this year.