India Tightens Curbs on Steel Imports as Global Glut Hurts Mills

  • Imposes minimum import prices for shipments from overseas
  • Hot-rolled coils to cost 19% more than local produce

India imposed a minimum import price on steel products to help stem a surge in cheaper shipments coming from overseas.

Minimum prices for inbound shipments range from $341 a metric ton to as much as $752 per ton across various grades of steel, the commerce ministry said in a statement Friday. The floor prices, which would make hot-rolled coils from overseas 19 percent more expensive than the locally made product, will be valid for six months. Imports into India surged 29 percent to 8.39 million tons in the nine months to December, according to the steel ministry.

An economic slowdown in China, the biggest producer and consumer of metals, has hurt the global steel industry as it exports its surplus amid weak domestic demand. Tata Steel Ltd., India’s biggest maker of the alloy, posted a third-quarter loss Thursday, while JSW Steel Ltd. swung to a record quarterly loss. Japan’s three biggest producers have all cut full-year profit forecasts due to deteriorating markets.

Steel exports from countries such as China, Russia, South Korea and Japan have surged to all-time highs on the back of lack-luster domestic demand, excess capacity and competitive currencies, Tata Steel said on Thursday.

Steel Secretary Aruna Sundararajan had said in December that India plans to step up measures to protect its debt-laden domestic steelmakers by imposing a minimum price on steel imports and studying loan restructuring. India’s latest measures come after a 20 percent import tax on hot-rolled coils for 200 days imposed in September, and anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled flat products of stainless steel for five years levied in December.

Shares of Indian steel makers gained Friday on expectation of the curbs. Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. jumped 11 percent to 63.5 rupees in Mumbai, the most since Oct. 5, while Steel Authority of India Ltd. climbed 5.8 percent to 40.85 rupees and JSW Steel advanced 2.6 percent to 1,037.05 rupees. Tata Steelreversed early declines to end 3.5 percent higher at 233.85 rupees.

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