Steel secy wants industry efforts to check prices

New Delhi, Mar 28 | Updated: Mar 30 2008, 03:31am hrs
A day after withdrawing Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) benefits on steel exports, the government on Friday said the exporters will have to do more to contain prices and it would decide on further course of action after meeting them in the next few days.

In the next few days, the government is going to meet iron ore exporters, secondary steel producers and major steel producers. Further strategies will emerge following these meetings, said Raghav Sharan Pandey, secretary, steel ministry.

Pointing out that rising steel prices and its inputs, particularly iron ore and coking coal, remain a matter of concern, he said, more steps would have to be taken by the industry and government to contain spiraling prices of the alloy. DEPB benefits for steel exporters are slated to end on next Monday.

Suspension of export subsidy available to steel companies under the DEPB scheme would fetch the government about Rs 600 crore and go a long way to contain prices and bridge demand-supply mismatch in the sector, Pandey said

Government has announced temporary withdrawal of DEPB benefits in steel products. This is aimed at disincetivising exports to some extent as lesser exports will somewhat augment availability of steel in the domestic market, he said.

He, however, appreciated steel makers for offering to exercise self-restraint on steel exports. In the last three days downtrend has been witnessed in steel ingot prices, the secretary pointed out.

A fortnight ago, steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to initiate measures, including withdrawal of DEPB benefits, to contain rising steel prices.