New Delhi: The country’s stainless steel imports dipped by 70% to 6,000 tonnes in December, weakening the industry’s demand for raising import duty on the alloy.
After surging by over 60% to 20,000 tonnes in November, the imports declined by 14,000 tonnes last month, as demand weakened after buyers delayed their purchases in anticipation of the prices to cool down further.
At present, a tonne of cold-rolled stainless steel is costing around Rs 1.18 lakh, whereas in November it was Rs 1.45 lakh a tonne.
“The prices showed a stabilising trend in December end, but fluctuation in rates over the last couple of months led to drop in sales as buyers delayed their purchases,” Joint Plant Committee executive secretary G K Basak said.
The Committee is part of the Steel Ministry and has been entrusted with the job of compiling data for iron and steel production, imports and exports.
Demanding protection for the stainless steel industry, dominated by Jindal Stainless, the domestic producers have been seeking increasing of import tariff to 15% from the present 5% on the alloy.
They also want the government to levy anti-dumping duty to curb cheap shipments from countries like China and Ukraine.
However, now that imports have declined and the trend is likely to continue on account of fiscal measures taken by the government, the Steel Ministry may give a second thought on whether to raise the import duty on the alloy, an official source said.
Even as the domestic stainless steel producers want curbs on imports, the end users and importers are opposed to such move, saying it would lead to monopoly of a single producer.