Steel prices slashed by Rs 4,000 per tonne on flat products

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New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) In a bid to tame the soaring steel prices, leading steel producers today reduced the prices of flat products by Rs 4,000 per tonne, besides slashing Rs 2,000 on rebars and structurals.

''These reductions will be applicable for all steel that gets consumed in India either directly or after further processing,'' said an official statement here.

Further, the steel producers will hold these prices for the next three months.

The decision was taken in meeting of the CEOs of major steel producing companies--Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Tata Steel, RINL, JSW, Essar Steel, Ispat Industries Ltd and representative of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here today.

These companies produce over 60 per cent of the total steel production in the country.

Steel prices, which have surged about 49 per cent during the past few months, is considered one of the prime reasons for rising inflation that touched a 42-month high of 7.57 per cent for the week ended April 19.

The government had recently decided to impose export duty on steel products following a sharp in rise in prices of the metal.

Steel producers also urged the government not impose duty on export of steel products.

In order to facilitate investment in steel sector and to augment capacities in the country, the producers demanded allocation and renewal of iron ore and coal mines on priority.

''Allotted natural gas should be made available and the legal environmental and forestry clearance issues be resolved by setting up an Empowered Committee, if required,'' demanded the steel producers.

They said an ad valorem duty of 15-25 per cent FOB be imposed on export of iron ore in order to conserve the mineral as China is doing in respect of coke in which case 25 per cent ad valorem export duty has been levied.

They also promised to pass on the benefits to the consumers if appropriate reduction in excise duty on steel be considered.

Steel producers said, ''NMDC, MOIL and Coal India Ltd should reduce prices of their products, which are inputs for the steel industry and the PSUs should give priority to domestic steel producers for supply of inputs before undertaking exports and should, charge long-term international prices.'' They urged the government that railway freight on steel making raw materials and on steel products should be maintained at current levels/classification.

The Prime Minister appreciated the gesture of the steel industry in reducing the prices and assured them of expeditious examination of their proposals.

UNI MP SR HT1932

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