Mumbai: JSW Steel Ltd, India’s No.3 producer of the alloy, is witnessing higher demand locally, and will focus on Africa, West Asia, Sri Lanka and Nepal for exports, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.
The worldwide recession had led to lower buying in US and Europe, traditionally the key export markets for Indian steel makers.
“In India, demand definitely is far better. Worldwide, there is no major improvement,” MVS Seshagiri Rao, director-finance, said. “Instead of exporting to Europe and US, we will sell to Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other countries.”
Indian steel firms took a big hit on their profits in the October-December quarter with margins shrinking as sales plunged and raw material prices soared despite falling demand.
JSW posted a loss in the quarter-ending December due to foreign exchange losses, lower sales and higher prices of raw material - coking coal and iron ore - which dented margins.
The company is negotiating for fresh coking coal contracts which are due to be signed in April and the prices may fall by two-third to $100-$120 a tonne from $305 last year, he said.
JSW Steel imports all of its coking coal requirements while it buys iron ore locally.