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Home / Politics / Policy /  Govt tightens curbs on steel imports as global glut hurts mills

Mumbai: India imposed a minimum import price on steel products to help stem a surge in cheaper shipments coming from overseas.

Minimum prices for inbound shipments range from $341 a metric ton to as much as $752 per ton across various grades of steel, the commerce ministry said in a statement on Friday. The floor prices, which would make hot-rolled coils from overseas 19% more expensive than the locally made product, will be valid for six months. Imports into India surged 29% to 8.39 million tons in the nine months to December, according to the steel ministry.

An economic slowdown in China, the biggest producer and consumer of metals, has hurt the global steel industry as it exports its surplus amid weak domestic demand. Tata Steel Ltd., India’s biggest maker of the alloy, posted a third-quarter loss on Thursday, while JSW Steel Ltd. swung to a record quarterly loss. Japan’s three biggest producers have all cut full-year profit forecasts due to deteriorating markets.

Steel exports from countries such as China, Russia, South Korea and Japan have surged to all-time highs on the back of lack-luster domestic demand, excess capacity and competitive currencies, Tata Steel said on Thursday.

Steel secretary Aruna Sundararajan had said in December that India plans to step up measures to protect its debt-laden domestic steelmakers by imposing a minimum price on steel imports and studying loan restructuring. India’s latest measures come after a 20% import tax on hot-rolled coils for 200 days imposed in September, and anti-dumping duties on cold- rolled flat products of stainless steel for five years levied in December.

Shares of Indian steel makers gained on Friday on expectation of the curbs. Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. jumped 11% to Rs63.5 in Mumbai, the most since 5 October, while Steel Authority of India Ltd. climbed 5.8% to Rs40.85 and JSW Steel advanced 2.6% to Rs1,037.05. Tata Steelreversed early declines to end 3.5% higher at Rs233.85. Bloomberg

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