After over 12 months of decline, the steel prices may be on their way up again from next year signalling the end of winters for the commodity market. Major steel companies in India such as Steel Authority of India Ltd, Essar Steel, Jindal South West and Bhushan Steel all said they were looking at a price increase in January.
“Globally the price of steel has gone up and prices in the domestic market have definitely bottomed out,” said Jayant Acharya, director sales and marketing, Jindal South West Ltd. “I think over the next one year the trend in the steel industry will be positive and prices would generally go up. However I do not forsee as extreme volatility as witnessed in the last two years.”
Following a fall in steel prices in October, domestic steel producers had cut prices by around Rs 2,000 per tonne. But there is unanimity among companies that it was the last such reduction and prices start firming up in future.
“International steel prices have gone up so there it is likely that domestic prices will also inch upwards next month,” said S K Roongta, chairman, SAIL.
Despite improved demand from consuming industries like automobiles, consumer durables and construction, steel prices remained on the lower side due to the threat of cheaper imports from China.
“The difference between the price of steel in the international and domestic market is only $ 20 (Rs 940) per tonne now, so there is no threat of imports,” Acharya added.
“We are increasing our flat and long steel products from January onwards may be in the range of Rs 1,000-1,500 per tonne,” said Neeraj Singhal, managing director, Bhushan Steel.