New Delhi: At least a couple of steel makers have raised the price of flat products by up to Rs 1,500/tonne since December 1 to align the domestic price with landed import costs, now hovering between Rs 35,000-36,000 a tonne.
The move to hike Hot-Rolled Coil (HRC) price, considered as the benchmark flat product, is likely to impact the end-use segments like automobiles and consumer durables.
"The price for HRC in the US has shot up by over 12 percent in December over the immediate past month. As a result, the imported cost of steel to India also increased. At least a couple of domestic producers have hiked the price by up to Rs 1,500 a tonne to align with the current imported cost of the metal," an industry source said.
The price hike is also a reflection of the buoyancy in the domestic demand and an attempt by the producers to pass on the inflated price of raw materials to consumers, he added.
However, barring state-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, no other steel maker came on record on the price hike.
A hike in steel price often translates into the price escalation by end-use segments. Flat steel products have a 2.61 percent weightage in the wholesale price index.
"On December 1, RINL has raised prices of steel products by up to Rs 500 per tonne as per the market conditions," the second largest steel PSU it said in a statement.
However, SAIL, said," Our prices are stable. There has been no change."
SAIL Chairman C S Verma had in the last week of November said there had been a brisk demand for the last few days resulting in picking up sales for both HRC and long products.
Long products are mostly used in the construction sector, but the prices for such products are unlikely to rise now since it is already higher than flat products, the official said.
Generally, the prices for flat products are higher than long products in the international market.
Meanwhile, messages sent to private sector producers such as Tata Steel and Essar Steel failed to elicit any reply, but reliable sources said Essar Steel has increased the price by Rs 1,500 a tonne with effect from December 1 and Tata Steel is likely to follow suit towards the month-end.
"A case has been building up for steel makers to increase the price as due to increase in input costs by about USD 20-30 (Rs 1,092 - Rs 1,638) and rupee depreciation, their margins are under severe pressure," the source said.
Country's steel imports went up by a hefty 40 percent during April-August period of current fiscal to 3.354 million tonnes (MT). India had imported 6.8 MT steel last fiscal.