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Spurt in steel exports

Calcutta, May 31: Domestic steel companies have witnessed a phenomenal growth in exports in the first two months of this fiscal.

According to sources, the demand in the international markets has picked up especially after the war in Iraq ended. Although the international steel prices need to be upwardly revised, Indian companies are upbeat about making record exports in the current financial year if the demand growth continues.

“Indeed, the price realisation will be lowered because of the rupee getting stronger vis-à-vis the greenback. But in terms of volume and total earnings, most of the Indian steel companies are going to do better,” a senior SAIL executive said.

SAIL, for instance, has exported around 1,30,000 tonnes of steel in the first two months compared with merely 49,000 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. The order book position is quite healthy for the next month too.

Ispat Industries, the Mittals-owned steel major, has exported about 68640 tonnes of steel this year while last year, it had exported a little over 18700 tonnes.

“The first two months last year were not encouraging, especially in terms of exports. but this year the order position looks very good and we are hopeful of making a good earnings from the sales in international markets,” a senior Ispat executive said.

Hot-rolled coils and galvanised products were mainly exported by Ispat Industries. The colour-coated steel, which had a good international markets last year, is not much in line with the overall export trend.

Essar Steel has also witnessed a substantial growth in exports during the first two months over its exports of around 40,000 tonnes during the corresponding period last year.

Both Essar and SAIL, which are trying to turn around, export more than 50 per cent of their overall production.

“We are little worried about the weakening dollar as it will have a direct impact on earnings. But the silver lining is that demand is growing in the international markets and the order books are far from dried up,” an Essar official said.

Although, the figures from the Tata Steel could not be available, sources said it is going to report the highest export earnings in the first quarter of the current financial year.

India’s total steel exports stood at a little over 3.7 million tonnes last year in which SAIL’s contribution was more than 9 lakh tonnes. SAIL has committed to cross the one million mark in exports in the current year.

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