SAIL keeps prices unchanged in April

Tags: SAIL, Industry
India's largest steel maker SAIL has kept its prices for the current month unchanged amid weak demand and appreciation in the value of the rupee.

The move is in line with other leading steel producers, which kept their prices either unchanged or went in for up to Rs 750 per tonne cut.

SAIL Chairman C S Verma told PTI: "Yes, we have rolled over (the prices). The reason is our assessment of demand supply forces."

He said there is no overcapacity yet in the Indian market and all domestic steel firms are able to sell their products.

The situation is completely different from global scenario, which is witnessing 20-22% surplus capacity and stagnant price levels, he added.

JSW Steel, which is second largest domestic producer in terms of capacity, has already reduced prices for HR-coil in the range of Rs 500-750 per tonne for April.

Some steel makers like Essar have kept their prices unchanged for most of the products. State-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd has however increased its prices by around Rs 750 per tonne due to its low inventory levels.

At present, ex-factory prices of long products like TMT bars and structures are hovering in the range of Rs 37,000- 39,000 per tonne, while prices of flat products like HR-coil and CR-coil are at about Rs 39,000 and Rs 43,000 per tonne, respectively.

An analyst, who tracks the sector closely, said that continuing weak demand and sharp appreciation of the rupee against the US dollar seen last month forced steel makers to put a pause on price hikes, done thrice in last 3 months.

He also said that if rupee continues to appreciate in the coming months, steel makers will be forced to reduce their prices further to avoid cheaper imports.

In last one month, rupee has appreciated by about 3% and is currently hovering around 60 per US dollar.

When asked about market conditions, Verma said these are challenging times for the steel industry and he expects prices to continue at present levels in the immediate future.

"I expect prices to continue at these levels only and I don't see any steep rise or fall in prices in the coming months. They will hover around the same level," he said.

Talking about SAIL's performance in the just concluded fiscal, he said that the company has reported 7% growth in its dispatches in terms of tonnage, while production of saleable steel has risen by 4%. Its exports stood at 0.5 million tonnes in the last fiscal.

Verma was speaking on the sidelines of an awards function organised by Dalal Street Investment Journal on Wednesday evening. SAIL and NMDC, the two firms headed by him, bagged two awards in different categories.

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