Steel prices dip sharply on govt steps


NEW DELHI: The measures announced by the government to cool down prices of key items and certain industrial commodities have caused a sharp fall in steel prices. The steps have also led to a marginal drop in the wholesale price of edible oils such as soya oil, sunflower oil and palm oil that soared due to restrictions imposed by Indonesia, which has lifted some curbs. Data compiled by government agencies showed that the imposition or increase in export duty on some steel products had helped lower the price of galvanised plain sheet and coils by close to 10% between May 22 and June 8. Similarly, TMT prices are around 9. 3% lower, while HR and CR coil prices have come down by 6% and 8%, respectively.
In the case of edible oil, the decline in wholesale prices of soya and sunflower oils is just 1. 5-2% so far. Officials are, however, drawing comfort that the rising trend has been arrested and there is scope for a further reduction, especially when the finance and commerce & industry ministries are monitoring it. While the duty cuts for raw material and inputs used by the plastics industry have not shown an impact so far, industry has assured the government that the impact will be visible over a few weeks. Economists said the Centre’s measures have helped calm prices in some segments.
“Government’s supply-side interventions seem to have helped pulses and edible oils as import duties have been cut on both these commodities over the past year. Government had also secured agreements for imports of pulses from multiple countries last year, which together with healthy production, has been bringing down pulses inflation for the past 11 months,” said D K Joshi, chief economist at ratings agency Crisil.
Carbohydrates have been recording higher inflation than certain protein items since the past few months. Inflation in cereals was 5. 3% in May, compared with -0. 4% for pulses and -4. 6% for eggs.


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