Monthly Archives: March 2013

Transporters call off proposed strike from April 1

Transporters body AIMTC on Friday said it has called off the proposed indefinite strike that was to begin from April 1 following assurance from the government that steps will be taken to facilitate resolution of issues raised by it.

“The AIMTC calls off their proposed indefinite chakkajam from midnight of April 1, 2013 and hope that the government will abide by its commitment to road transport sector”, All India Motor Transport Congress President Malkit Singh said in a statement.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) said in a statement, “The AIMTC has called off the proposed strike after its representatives met the Secretary. During the Meeting, Secretary assured that ministry appreciates the requests of AIMTC and will take steps to facilitate resolution of issues.”

Earlier, AIMTC had warned that 75 lakh trucks and 40 lakh buses will stop plying from April 1 if demands, including withdrawal of hike in diesel prices and rollback of hike in third party insurance premium, were not met.



India: Car Sales declined in Q4

Car makers in the country reported falling sales in February by nearly 26% as high costs and sluggish economic growth continued to weigh on demand, resulting in the industry's first decline in annual sales in a decade. Car sales during the first 10 months of the current financial year that will end on March, 31 were down by 1.8% compared to the same period last year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Sales grew a record 30% in 2011 and annual sales have grown every year since the financial year that ended in March 2003, according to data from SIAM.Indian car makers have been hit by high interest rates and rising fuel costs.

Over the past few years, billions of dollars of investment has poured into the industry from the world's biggest car makers, hungry for growth.Car makers had hoped incentives would be announced in the country's budget to boost the industry, but budget came with rise in taxes on some sports utility vehicles (SUV's), risking growth in the market's only bright spot.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, India's biggest car maker, said its car sales fell 10.9% in February. Hyundai Motor Corp's Indian unit, the country's No.2 said, its domestic sales dropped 7.6% during the month. Tata Motors, the country's third-largest home-grown car maker said, its February sales were down by 33%. The three companies account for nearly 75% of the car market.

On the other hand, Ford Motor Co's Indian unit said, its domestic sales fell 44% in February and Toyota Kirloskar Motor reported nearly 23.43 % decrease in its domestic car sales at 12,756 units in February 2013 which sold 16,659 units in the corresponding month of last year.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, whose growth in sales of SUV's has been one of the industry's fastest said, its overall domestic sales rose 10 % in February, but its SUV's are not included in car sales data compiled by SIAM.

Passenger car sales, seen as an important guide to overall economic vitality, declined by 25.71% to 158,513 units in February from the same month in 2012, industry body SIAM reported. Passenger car sales grew by 20 to 30% annually in the decade until 2010-11, prompting foreign automakers to invest in India to boost sales globally.

The fall in passenger car sales was the biggest since a 40% slide in December 2000, SIAM said, and came as sales in China, the world's largest car market, have been seen gaining traction.

Amid excise duty hike on Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) from 27% to 30% in the Union Budget, car makers had a difficult month in February with leading companies including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors, reporting decline in their domestic monthly sales as market continues to reel under tough macro economic conditions.

Total bus and truck sales – another important economic barometer slumped by 35 % in India in February. Even sales of motorcycles, the most popular form of personal transport  fell by 4%.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the sector will not be able to achieve the 0-1% forecast set for passenger car segment in the current fiscal. The two-wheeler segment also saw sluggish sales with the market Hero Motor Corp and TVS Motor witnessing their sales going down in last month.

The Indian auto industry, which is facing demand slump in recent months, gave a lukewarm response to RBI's decision to reduce short-term lending rates, saying the sector needs a cut of at least 100 basis points.

“The 25 basis points cut is nothing, we need at least 100 basis points reduction”, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Deputy Director General Sugato Sen told. Although the RBI's move to slash the short-term lending rate or repo rate twice by 0.25 percentage points each in two months is a positive step, but it is unlikely to revive the sales immediately, he added.

“It is a too slow apace. We are reaching a desperate step, we need policy support”, Sen said. Even as RBI today cut the repo rate to spur growth and revive investment, it sounded a note of caution on further easing of rates on account of high food inflation and current account deficit.

Reacting to RBI's rate cut proposal, General Motors India Vice President P Balendran said, “This is a marginal decline we were expecting at least 50 basis points cut as inflation has moderated we were expecting CRR cut as well.” The rate cut will hardly make any positive impact on vehicle sales in the country, he added.

However, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Deputy Managing Director and COO (Marketing and Commercial) Sandeep Singh said, the industry will wait and watch as to whether this rate cut will help positively or not in the coming months. “This is obviously a good move for the industry. We were expecting this”, he added.

Expressing similar sentiments, Honda Cars India Senior Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said if the banks pass on the benefit of the rate cut to the consumers of auto loans, the industry will see some revival in sales.

With just a month left for the fiscal to end, SIAM said that it was certain that car sales would be in negative territory in 2012-13, the first decline since 2002-03, missing the earlier forecast of 0-1 % rise for the ongoing financial year.



Indian Iron Ore Fines of Fe 58% concluded at $119-120/t CFR China

Spot iron ore prices in Chinese market moved up marginally by 5-10 Yuan, however trading activities will remain low on celebrations of Good Friday (29th Mar, Friday).

Meanwhile, an Indian cargo of Fe 58 was heard to have concluded at around $119-120/t CFR China, said an exporter based in Mumbai. He also highlighted that offers for 57/56 are in the range of $111/t CFR and 63.5/63 at around $136-139/t CFR.

In Indian domestic market offers for Fe 57/56 are in range of Rs 2900/t delivered Vizag port and Fe 58 at around Rs 3200-3400/t delivered Vizag Port.

Last transactions for Australian PB fines was at $136-138/t CFR levels and Brazilian 63.5 iron lumps at around $142/t CFR China.


Spot HCC prices remain under pressure

Coking coal prices in Asian market remained downward due to
Chinese end-users procuring material from ports rather than procuring cargoes
from Australia.

With decline in prices Premium low volume material is
available at $156/MT (FOB Australia) converting to $174/MT while reaching
India, on the other side 64 mid volume material is available at $142/MT (FOB).
Dry Bulk freight from Australian Ports to Indian Coast stands at $18/MT (Panamax).

Lack of buying interest, Low prices in Chinese ports and low
price offers from miners (China) are the major reason for downfall in the
prices of coking coal.


Bombay Iron Merchant Association going for 1 day strike on 1st April

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has proposed to impose Local Body Tax in place of Octroi w.e.f. from 1st Oct 2013. At present Octroi is at 3% and its being heard LBT will be charge equivalent to Octroi.  

Federation of Association of Maharashtra is taking up the issue on core front to protest the imposition of Local Body Tax as a parent of All Association of Maharashtra (along with member of DISMA, BIMA, and Steel Chamber of India) to go for 1 day Strike on 1st April. 

“Maharashtra government LBT tax has already implied in Ulhasnagar area of Mumbai” said a Finish trader on confirmation of above news. 


Indian steel ministry extends BIS registrations for Ingot/Billet by 6 months

Indian steel ministry in the third amendment dated 28th March 2013, for Steel & Steel Products (Quality Control, BIS)  some products have further given extension for 6 months. This includes Ingot and Billet coming under IS 2831 grade (Carbon steel ingot, billet, slab, blooms used for making low tensile structural products).

Market participants appreciate this move by steel ministry specially when secondary steel manufacturers are going through a rough phase.

“We are glad that government took this decision of extending compulsory BIS registrations for Ingot/ Billet” said Manufacturer


India: Truck Operators to go on strike from April 1, 2013

Truck owners of the country have decided to go on an indefinite strike from the midnight of March 31 in protest against abnormal hike in the premiums of 3rd party insurance of four government-controlled insurance companies.

Supporting the move, General Secretary – Satyajit Majumder, Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators Association (FWBTOA) said, that they will also join the nation-wide indefinite stir called by All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) from April 1st in support of their four-point charter of demands.

Announcing the strike in Kolkata after meeting the states' Transport Minister – Madan Mitra, Satyajit Majumdar said they had put off before taking this decision to see what steps the state transport department would take.

“However, no action has been taken till now even though the states' transport minister had assured to look into their matter”, Majumdar said.

The minister had requested them not to participate in the stir saying, it will have adverse reaction on people and economy. Majumdar said that they have been facing a few problems for which they have decided to start holding an indefinite strike from April 1st midnight joining hands with AITMC, which have already called a nationwide stir from the same date (Apr 1st).

He alleged the government was not taking any initiative to stop overloading in trucks and that the transport department was illegally collecting revenues from truckers for overloading of goods.

Also, the truck owners were facing problems to get or renew their licenses and to sell their vehicles if necessary due to the new rules that the motor vehicles department have introduced, Majumdar added.

Apart from demanding to stop overloading, problems with motor vehicles, police harassment, immediate repair of roads, they also demanded instant withdrawal of hike in third party insurance premium.

Providing the information Uday Shankar Prasad Singh, President, Bihar Motor Transport Federation, said the decision of an indefinite strike by truck owners was taken at a meeting of All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners Associations and All India Motor Transport Confederation in Bangalore on Monday. The road transport secretary of the union government has been informed about the strike through an e-mail, Singh claimed.



UPDATE:SAIL extends purchase of 3,890 tonnes of Ferro Silicon

Steel Authority of India (SAIL), India's largest steel maker in terms of quantity has invited sealed quotations from Indian and Global suppliers for supply of 3,890 tons of Ferro Silicon (Silicon content Min 70%) for its BHilai steel plant and around 15,100 tons of High Grade Ferro Chrome for its Durgapur steel pant. Tender had to be closed on 9th April 2013.

Ferro silicon tender date has been extended further to 2nd of May 2013. Sources say that there were not many participants as rise in power prices have made many units either cut productions or shut their shop.


CHINA: Spot 63.5/63 Fe iron ore fines reach $137-138/t CFR

Spot iron ore prices in Chinese market continued to crawl up primarily due to less supply from Brazilian and Australian miners. Market sources highlight that Australian 58% iron fines being concluded at $128/t CFR and Australian PB fines Fe 61.5 offered at $138/t CFR.

Indian exporters heard to have offered Fe 57/56 cargo at around $109-111/t CFR and 63.5/ 63 at around $139-140/t CFR China.

Some miners based in Odisha have re-started operations since they were closed since October 2012 on violating environmental norms.Also some are planning to increase fines prices in domestic market.


Steel Exchange India bags order from RINL

Steel Exchange India Ltd, an Andhra Pradesh based company, today said, it has received a conversion order from Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) to roll out TMT bars from billets. 

“The quantity to be converted will be 10,000 MT per month. The contract shall be effective for the period of one year and would be extendable by one more year on mutual consent”, it said in a statement. 

The company, however, did not disclose the value of the contract. 

“We are happy to bag the conversion orders from RINL. We promise to strive hard and perform according to the best of standards. We are grateful that RINL has chosen us to roll out TMT bars and we are confident of fulfilling their requirements and help to maintain their trust on us”, company's Managing Director B Satish Kumar said. 

According to the company, the conversion charges shall be paid per ton of converted products including transportation and are fixed throughout the period of contract. 

The production of TMT bars will be carried out at company's rolling mill in Vizianagaram District of Andhra Pradesh. 

Steel Exchange India is engaged in several businesses related to iron and steel sector and is based in Andhra Pradesh. This includes a steel rolling unit of 2.25 lakh tons per annum (LTPA), a 2.20 LTPA sponge iron unit and 2.40 LTPA billet unit. It also has the capacity to produce 90,000 tons per annum steel ingots.

Source PTI