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Steel companies hike prices as China supplies shrink

MUMBAI: Indian steel producers raised output prices for the sixth time this financial year in anticipation that demand from infrastructure builders and carmakers would rise even as supplies from China become increasingly suspect in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak. JSW SteelNSE 3.02 % raised prices by Rs 500-750 per tonne to Rs 39,300 for both Hot rolled coil (HRC) and TMT Bars depending on quality specifications, effective next month. “We see a supply gap emanating from China, which will give some opportunity for other domestic markets,” JSW’s director (strategy, sales and marketing) Jayant Acharya to reporter. The company’s domestic order book for March is robust, he said. “Domestic demand from project, OEM and construction segments continues to be strong.. We expect this to continue in the coming quarter as well. Further, the traditional markets of Chinese exports like South Korea, and SouthEast Asia have also opened up for Indian steel mills due to issues in China,” said ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India’s chief marketing officer Ranjan Dhar. Of course, long-term price trends remain difficult to predict. “We still need to assess whether the prices will sustain, a hike in the near term might be absorbed, but once China resumes exports, the situation will likely be different and the prices may not hold,” said senior research analyst at Emkay Global, Vishal Chandak. “Global metals markets have come under significant pressure after Covid-19 outbreak in China, with prices of metals falling sharply since January 21. Prices for Indian Commodity Exchange steel should recover post Q2 as iron ore prices should improve,” said Ajay Kedia, Director, Kedia Services.

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