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EU & US end tariff dispute, target China’s ‘dirty’ steel

The United States and the European Union on Sunday ended a dispute over steel and aluminium tariffs and said they would work on a global arrangement to combat “dirty” production and overcapacity in the industry.

The future EU-US arrangement will be a challenge for China, which produces more than half of the world’s steel and which the EU and US accuse of creating overcapacity that is threatening the survival of their own steel industries.

“The United States and the European Union have reached a major breakthrough that will address the existential threat of climate change while also protecting American jobs and American industry,” US President Joe Biden told reporters in Rome in a joint event with European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen on G20 sidelines.

Under the deal, Washington will allow EU countries duty free access for steel and aluminium exports to the United States in volumes comparable to those shipped before tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump’s administration in 2018.

In response, the EU removed retaliatory tariffs on US products including whiskey, power boats and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

But rather than just a simple return to the status quo from 2018, the United States and the European Union plan to address the existential threat of climate change and production overcapacity in the steel industry, which is one of the biggest CO2 emitters in the world.

“Together, the United States and European Union will work to restrict access to their markets for dirty steel and limit access to countries that dump steel in our markets, contributing to worldwide over-supply,” the White House said in a factsheet without naming China directly. -Reuters

Rourkela Steel Plant registers ‘best-ever’ H1 production in key areas

The Rourkela Steel Plant, a unit of SAIL, has said it registered the “best-ever” production performance for the April-September period in the three key segments of hot metal, crude steel and saleable steel. During the reporting period, the plant produced 2,101,278 tonnes of hot metal, 1,953,438 tonnes of crude steel and 1,772,875 tonnes of saleable steel, it said in a release.

The figures “are not only the highest for any half year (H1), but also a significant improvement of 42.9 per cent, 38 per cent and 37.8 per cent, respectively, over H1 of last fiscal,” the company said.

Amarendu Prakash, DIC, Bokaro Steel Plant and Rourkela Steel Plant, said, “Let’s keep on excelling in the field of production as well as in other vital areas like safety, quality, house-keeping and cost of production.”

Tata Steel commissions 0.5 MTPA recycling plant in Haryana

Tata Steel on Wednesday said its first steel recycling plant in Rohtak, Haryana, has been commissioned.

The plant having an annual capacity of 0.5 million tonne per annum (MTPA) has been set up in collaboration with Aarti

Green Tech

Ltd as a build-own-operate (BOO) partner, Tata Steel said in a statement.

The company did not disclose financial details with respect to the plant.

“It is the first such facility in India, equipped with modern and mechanised equipment such as shredder, baler, material handler etc,” it said.

The scrap would be procured from various market segments, such as end-of-life vehicles, obsolete households, construction and demolition, and industrial, through an app ‘FerroHaat’.

The scrap would then be processed through mechanised equipment and supplied for downstream steel making.

Steel produced through the recycled route entails lower carbon emissions, resource consumption and energy utilisation, Tata Steel said.

Yogesh Bedi, chief, steel recycling business, at Tata Steel, said: “Steel can be recycled multiple times. It doesn’t loses its properties. From that perspective, steel scrap is a valuable resource and an important future raw material for steel making.”

Recycling scrap ensures the closure of the circular economy loop, Bedi said.

In the statement, Tata Steel also announced launch of two new brands, Tata FerroBaled and Tata FerroShred, for the baled and shredded ferrous scrap produced in the new facility.

India-based Tata Steel Group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes per annum.

The group recorded a consolidated turnover of USD 21.06 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2021.

Our responsibility to change conservative system in steel and cement: Nitin Gadkari

Addressing a virtual event organised by industry body CII, Union minister Nitin Gadkari appealed for cooperation by ‘experienced people’ to help change the system in the steel and cement industry.

“The present system in the government is orthodox, conservative and not ready for any change. It is the responsibility of people like me to change the system, attitude, approach and vision and take the appropriate policy decision through which we can give advantage to the country, the people and everybody,” said the road, transport and highways minister.

Gadkari underlined the need to save on costs and make alternatives for steel and cement.

“My suggestion is for people like you is on how we can reduce the cost without compromising the quality by using different materials, changing designs. That is exactly where I need people, the experienced people who are working,” the minister said.

Gadkari further said he does not a hold a good opinion on steel and cement companies that are “exploiting the situation and creating black markets”.

The minister gave the example of his experience of working on the Zoji-la Tunnel, where with the help of a “good engineer advising him”, Gadkari was able to reduce the cost of the project by saving Rs 5,000 crore.

Domestic sponge iron sector might report negative growth due to coal crisis: Industry body SIMA

The domestic sponge iron industry might report a negative growth in the ongoing December quarter “if the shortage of coal is allowed to continue”, according to apex industry body SIMA.

Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Executive Director Deependra Kashiva said India is expected to report a 60 per cent quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) fall in its sponge iron output during the July-September 2021 period, amid the ongoing coal crisis.

As per the JPC data, the sponge iron production growth in April-June 2021 was 70 per cent, compared with January-March 2021. This is expected to come down by 60 per cent to a level of 10 per cent in the second quarter ended September 30, 2021, due to the coal crisis, he said without providing any figures.

“If the situation is allowed to continue…if the shortage of coal is allowed to continue then I am expecting that in Q3 (October-December), the growth will be negative,” Kashiva told PTI in a telephonic interaction.

He said the JPC data for September will be released by the next week.

The Joint Plant Committee (JPC), under the Ministry of Steel, is the only institution that collects and maintains data on the Indian steel and iron sector.

Speaking further on the situation, he said Coal India Ltd (CIL) recently announced to give coal to only thermal power plants.

“They have said that except for the power sector, we are stopping supply to all industry users, and sponge iron and cement are the two big consumers after the power sector,” the Kashiva said.

He added that the industry consumes about 40 million tonnes of coal annually and has provided three lakh direct and indirect jobs.

Sponge iron or direct reduced iron (DRI) is used in producing semi-finished steel items, ingots and billets, which are further used to make various finished steel items. Coal is a key raw material used to produce sponge iron.

“The production is coming down. The players are using the coal

Budget 2016: Tata Steel says higher infrastructure spending to aid steel demand

MUMBAI: Tata Steel said India’s steel sector will get the much needed demand boost through the government spending in infrastructure which were announced in the Union Budget on Monday.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the total outlay for infrastructure in budgetary allocation for next financial year stands at Rs. 221246 crore. He said while the government has speeded up construction of pending roads and highways projects it will build and upgrade old roads and highways in the coming year.

“The budgetary proposals announced by the Finance Minister will help the industry meet its growth target and reach its full potential,” said TV Narendran, Managing Director at Tata Steel India.

However, Narendran said that the doubling of Clean Energy Cess from Rs 200 to 400 per tonne would further increase the input cost for domestic producers.

Indian steel industry is suffering competition from cheap Chinese imports that are pushing down prices in the domestic market. Recently imposed duties on imported steel have given a breather to Indian companies.

Narendran said he hoped that steel would be brought under the ambit of much-awaited Goods and Services Tax Bill, given steel industry is a significant contributor to India’s GDP and is also pivotal to a number of allied industries and sectors such as infrastructure, automobile and construction.

“While recent interventions by Government of India has given some breather, long term measures to create a level playing field are required to firewall the domestic steel industry from Global overcapacity and dumping,” he said.

Economic Survey against more tariff protection for steel producers

NEW DELHI: Government has taken steps such as safeguard duty, anti-dumping duty and minimum import price to check surging steel imports, but further protection will impact downstream industries, the Economic Survey said.

On account of an almost “stagnant” steel demand globally, particularly in China, major producers are pushing products into the Indian market, which is leading to a surge in steel imports, said the 2015-16 report card of the economy tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today.

The domestic steel industry, with higher borrowing and raw material costs and lower productivity, is at a comparative disadvantage. To check this, government initiated several measures to curb surging imports and make domestic production sustainable, it added.

“Any further safeguards will impact downstream industries as steel is used as an input in different industries like basic metal and non-metal products, machineries, transport, construction and consumer goods,” the Survey said.

It is estimated that for a 10 per cent increase in steel prices due to a hike in anti-dumping or import duties, the cost of production of basic metal and non-metal products will increase by 5.4 per cent, it added.

Besides, cost of production in construction sector will go up by 1.7 per cent, machineries by 1.3 per cent, transport by 0.7 per cent and the consumer goods sector by 0.4 per cent, it said.

During June-August period, the government raised basic customs duties on certain primary iron and steel products by up to 2.5 per cent.

In June itself, anti-dumping duties were imposed, ranging from $180-316 per tonne, for industrial grade stainless steel imported from China, Malaysia and South Korea.

Forty countries had initiated anti-dumping measures including the US, EU, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, and nine countries also imposed countervailing duties (CVD).

In September, government clamped provisional safeguard duty on hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy steel in coils at the rate of 20 per cent ad-valorem for a period of 200 days, while it also reduced export duty on iron ore to 10 per cent for select steel (grade less than 58 per cent iron content).

Earlier this month, minimum import price (MIP) was also imposed on 174 steel products for a period of six months.

Prabir Raychaudhury becomes the new director (commerical) of RINL

KOLKATA: Prabir Raychaudhury has assumed charge as the new Director (Commercial) of RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant on Tuesday. Prior to it, Raychaudhury served as Executive Director (Transport & Shipping Department), Steel Authority of India (SAIL) in Kolkata.

An alumnus of IIT Delhi (Chemical Engineering), he started his career as Management Trainee in 1982 and worked in various key positions during his tenure. He has handled various commercial activities like; domestic Sales, International Trade, Warehouse operations, Retail sales, Transport & Shipping, Vigilance etc.

He played a major role in drafting policy for dealership schemes for increasing the outreach of the products in rural areas and has worked in close coordination with the railways for undertaking bulk movement of imported raw materials like cooking coal/ lime stone.

Fitch downgrades SAIL to ‘BB’

KOLKATA: Fitch Ratings has downgraded Steel Authority of India Limited‘s (SAIL) Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BB’ from ‘BBB-‘. “The downgrade follows deterioration in SAIL’s financial profile after a prolonged weakening in international steel prices. SAIL’s debt-funded capex programme has magnified the impact of weak prices,” a statement issued by Fitch said. SAIL posted an EBITDA loss of Rs 2530 crore in the nine months to December 31, 2015, compared with an EBITDA of Rs 3689 crore a year earlier, due to weak steel prices, competition from increased steel imports into India and muted steel demand growth in India.

Fitch said it expects SAIL’s financial profile to improve only moderately towards March 31, 2018, while Indian steel demand is likely to improve over the medium term, which will support better profitability at SAIL. The negative outlook, according to Fitch reflects the risk of further weakening in steel prices, increases in Indian steel imports and weaker-than-expected steel demand over the next 12-18 months, which would make it difficult for SAIL to improve its profitability and thus its leverage, Fitch said.

The agency said key rating drivers for SAIL include challenging dynamics in domestic market, weak financial profile, government linkages, its leadership position with wide sales network and presence in nearly all low-carbon steel products, comfortable liquidity and nearly completed capex. While SAIL has been battling falling steel prices, high imports and muted demand during the last twelve months. The imposition of a minimum import price in February 2016 and extension of a safeguard duty on certain steel imports till March 2018 will provide some relief to domestic producers, Fitch said. Indian steelmakers’ profitability is likely to improve during Q4FY16 and in the first half of FY17. “However, muted demand and expectations of overcapacity will limit the benefits of the measures for Indian steel producers in 2016. Fitch expects profitability of Indian steel producers, including SAIL, to remain weak in FY17,” the ratings agency said. SAIL’s financial profile has deteriorated due to the EBITDA losses and increasing debt levels driven by its capex. “The company’s financial profile is likely to improve only from FY18, when sales volumes increase and profitability widens following better operating efficiency and cost control measures,” Fitch said.

It also pointed out that SAIL has almost completed its capex programme but delays in completion from the originally planned end-FY13 or early FY14, has resulted in weaker than expected cash flows and significantly higher debt. Fitch also added that the ratings assumed domestic steel demand growth of around 5% in FY17, which will accelerate to around 8% over the medium term, resulting in SAIL’s sales volume increasing around 15% over the medium term. It also assumed stable Indian steel prices around current levels supported by continuation of government measures to check significant rise in steel imports.

SAIL teams up with Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering for seminar on latest steel tech

KOLKATA: Steel Authority of India’s Durgapur Steel Plant organized a technology seminar on ‘Latest Developments in Steel Making’ on Monday. The seminar was organized in collaboration with Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering, Japan. A large number of officials engaged in working in various aspects of steel making in the plant attended the seminar held at DSP’s at its Centre for Human Resource Development (CHRD).

Speaking at the inaugural session of the seminar, A K Rath, CEO, DSP said: “Learning is a continuous process. The seminar is an excellent platform to foster learning. Learning about the latest developments in steel making from the experts enriches our knowledge and improves the working”. Two experts from Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engg., Fukuoka, Japan also made presentations on the topic and interacted with the participants.

The Japanese company is a leading provider of plant technology underpinning the steel industry with expertise in iron making, steelmaking and green equipment. Its domain also extends to pipelines, building construction & steel structures, marine engineering and construction and environmental and energy solutions.

DSP one of the

SAIL

’s four integrated steel plants, is the only forged wheel producer in the country with the Indian Railways as one of the largest customers. It has been supplying various types of wheels and axles to the Railways for more than 50 years.