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Govt plans meet as steel makers mull price hike

Amidst reports that steelmakers could hike prices once the July deadline ends, the Govt may hold a meeting with them before the end of this month to discuss prices, reports Sumant Banerji.
By Sumant Banerji | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2008 09:58 PM IST

The government may hold a meeting with steel producers before the end of this month to discuss prices, a senior official said on Tuesday, amidst reports that steelmakers could hike prices once the July deadline comes to end.

All major primary steelmakers in the country had promised Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on May 7, to hold steel prices until end of July. But a sustained spike in cost of iron ore, coal and freight, the industry says, has made it difficult to hold the priceline.

“We are keeping a close watch on the prices and for the time being it appears to be stable. We expect the industry to take steps in a transparent manner and may convene a meeting to review the pricing situation,” a senior steel ministry official said. “Export duty on iron ore has been levied so it has to be studied to what extent the industry is hampered.”

The ministry has intervened on the pricing issue from time to time this year and with inflation remaining high it is likely to keep the heat on steelmakers.

Iron and steel figured prominently in the radar for manufacturing sector and prices are likely to remain firm.

“It is a collective duty to ensure that inflation is under check but regulation is not on our mind. We want the industry to discuss prices from time to time and we will do our best to help them contain it,” the official added.

User industries like automobiles believe prices will go up in August. “We have been hearing that prices will go up in July and then in August and are trying to figure out whether it has gone up this month so far. Definitely it will go up next month,” said Vishnu Mathur, Executive Director, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA).

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