Steelmakers in India Advance After Extension of Import Curbs

  • Minimum import prices on steel levied for two more months
  • India is seeking to cut imports to protect local steelmakers

India extended its floor price regime on steel imports for a further two months, as the world’s third-biggest producer seeks to insulate domestic mills from a global glut. Steelmakers gained in Mumbai.

The country extended minimum import prices, ranging from $341 to $752 a metric ton depending on the type of product, until Oct. 4, the commerce ministry said in a statement late Thursday. The rules imposed in February were to expire Friday. India’s imports slid 31 percent to 1.8 million tons in the April-June period from a year ago, having hit a record 11.7 million tons in the financial year through March.

While China, the largest producer, has pledged to cut capacity, it continues to export its surplus at record levels amid the slowest growth in decades, prompting nations from India to the U.S. to impose protectionist measures.

“The government had imposed the MIP for quick results and to give them some breathing space to investigate what more measures are needed,” which may include anti-dumping duties, Kunal Motishaw, an analyst at Reliance Securities Ltd., said by phone from Mumbai.

India’s imports were expected to drop sharply when floor prices were first introduced, but the decline has been less than anticipated, according to JSW Steel Ltd. Joint managing director Seshagiri Rao said earlier this month that shipments could be as high as 8 million tons this year, more than the 6 million tons forecast in February after the government introduced the floor price.

Shares of India’s biggest mill, Tata Steel Ltd., climbed as much as 2.2 percent and were 1.2 percent higher at 378.10 rupees at 11:05 a.m. in Mumbai, set for the highest close since May 2015. JSW Steel advanced 0.7 percent while Steel Authority of India Ltd. rose 1.8 percent. The broader S&P BSE Sensex Index was up 1 percent.

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