New Delhi: Tata Steel plans to increase local sales to 8.5 million tonnes in the current financial year amid hopes prices will rise as demand picks up following the monsoon season.
"In 2013-14, we are targeting a sale of 1 million tonnes over and above the 7.5 million tonnes sold in FY`13. This implies a yearly volume growth of around 13.3 per cent," a company spokesperson said.
Hinting that the firm was on track to achieve the target, he said, "In the first quarter of FY 13-14, we have achieved a year-on-year volume growth of 26 per cent despite slow growth in the Indian market."
Tata Steel said 98 percent of the volumes sold in the April-June quarter were in the domestic market. The company sold 2.01 million tonnes of steel in Q1.
"Our branding initiative and market research gives us an edge over the other market players and we believe that we are on track to achieve our annual volume growth target," he said.
On the outlook for steel prices, he said, "There is a definite pressure in the market during the seasonally weak monsoon time and also due to the weak economic growth in the country."
However, there is scope for increasing domestic steel prices, which are generally set in line with international prices that have risen in recent times.
"At the same time, the rupee has depreciated meaningfully, which gives an opportunity to the domestic steel makers to increase prices in India. So, there is a definite scope but the timing of any price increase would depend on the market condition," he said.
With the rupee`s drop, imports become costlier and steel shipments from overseas may decline, creating a supply gap and helping domestic manufacturers to cash in on the shortfall.