New Delhi: Amid reports that leading steel producers may raise prices from the first week of August, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said the government is in dialogue with the manufacturers to keep the rates under check.
“All I know is that the Ministry of Steel is talking to steel producers to persuade them to keep prices under check,” Chidambaram told PTI in an interaction.
Asked if government may take fiscal measures to ensure steel prices don’t spiral after expiry of the three-month self-moratorium imposed by primary producers on their price line, the Finance Minister said: “I can’t talk about fiscal measures. I know that there is a dialogue between steel ministry and steel producers.”
In view of the apprehensions regarding price rise of steel items, the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) recently decided that the Ministry of Steel in consultation with Department of Revenue would soon consider suitable measures for increasing domestic availability of steel and moderating its prices.
Among others, the ensuing CoS meeting is likely to consider an increase in export duty on flat and long steel products besides upward duty revision on export of iron ore.
At present, flat steel products are exempted from export duty while long steel items attract 15%. Overseas iron ore shipments attract 15% ad-valorem duty.
Steel prices have since January shot up by about 50%, triggering concerns that soaring rates of the alloy were augmenting inflationary pressures on the economy.