Minimum import price a relief for steel industry: Company

Kolkata, March 17 (IANS) Implementation of minimum import price on 173 steel items, with an aim to stop imports, has given some relief to the industry, Tata Steel managing director T.V. Narendran said on Thursday.

“It has given some relief to the industry. There is some stability in the domestic markets as international prices have gone up by 15 percent in the last two-three months. I would say the worst is behind us,” he said when asked how the industry is shaping up after the implementation of the MIP.

“We are all waiting to see what is happening in China as prices of steel there went up significantly in the last few weeks,” he said on the sidelines of the annual eastern regional meeting of Confederation of Indian Industry.

He declined to make any forward-looking statement on the domestic steel prices but said the budget focusing on agricultural growth could help in pushing up the demand in the country.

“Rural demand has been a bit slow in the last two years but the agriculture-focused budget can create more demand,” Narendran said.

“The automobile business is looking a bit better. We are hoping that the consumption- led growth will be there after the pay commission announcements. Hopefully, this year would be better than the last year from the demand perspective.”

“We expect 5-7 percent growth in domestic demand. And there is enough domestic capacity to meet the demand,” the Tata Steel official said.

Tata Steel’s capacity of producing flat products will be 10 million tonnes per annum, including production in its Jamshedpur plant and after the commissioning of the first phase of the Kalinganagar plant in Odisha.

The company has three million tonne capacity in long products in India. “Another three million tonnes of long products can be made available in the country from our south-east Asian operations if the prices are competitive.”

Last year, the company had brought two lakh tonnes of steel from south-east Asia to India, he said.

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