Sail, Essar Steel to slash prices by 3-8%; others to wait & watch

New Delhi, Aug 1 | Updated: Aug 2 2005, 05:30am hrs
Sluggish international demand and continuous fall in prices forced steel producers Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Essar Steel to slash prices by 3% to 8% on Friday.

Other domestic companies, however, said they would wait and watch the market scenario before reacting with price cuts.

This is the third consequtive month when primary steel producers have slashed prices. Earlier, both in the months of June and July all major domestic steel companies had dropped prices between Rs 500 and Rs 2,500 per tonne to give shape to a sluggish international demand.

While SAIL has cut steel prices across all product categories between 4% and 8% owing to a correction in global prices due to liquidation of inventory across the countries, Essar has reduced price by 3-8% or Rs 1,500 per tonne across all its products.

SAIL shares fell 4% after news of price cuts spread.Largest private sector steel maker, Tata Steel, however, said that it would wait and watch before recting to present price cuts.

The average benchmark HR prices in the country are hovering around Rs 24,000 to Rs 25,000 per tonne, while average international HR prices are around Rs 21,000 per tonne requiring a price correction.

When contacted, a Tata Steel speokesperson said that no decision has been taken yet to drop steel prices.

He added that the market situation in any case would not affect the steel prices on long-term contacts entered into by the company.

A SAIL spokesperson said that already there were indications that steel prices would firm up and that the markets would stabilise after September when once again demand picks up and inventory positions eases.

According to industry experts, in value terms SAILs 4-8 % price cut would mean between Rs 500 and Rs 1500 per tonne cut in steel prices of various categories. The growth in Chinese exports is also responsible for oversupplies in market leading to price slump.