BUSINESS

Steel majors cut prices

NEW DELHI, MARCH 3. Major steel producers today announced a reduction of about Rs. 4,000 a tonne in prices of steel partly to pass on the benefit of excise duty reduction and partly to provide relief to consumers. They have also assured that there would be adequate availability of steel. The decision was taken by the Indian Steel Alliance which includes Tata Steel, Essar, Ispat and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in response to the numerous steps taken last week by the Government to ensure that steel prices stop their upward climb.

In a statement issued here today, the ISA Chairman J. J. Irani, said, "In the larger interest of domestic non-exporting customers,'' the ISA has review the current price of HR coils that is now Rs. 27,000 a tonne (ex-factory). He said the ISA members would reduce HR coil prices by Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,000 a tonne on their own. In addition, they would pass on the benefit of the recent reduction in excise duty from 16 per cent to 8 per cent in full to customers. This would be about an additional Rs. 2,000. The ISA will make "required adjustments in their selling prices accordingly,'' he said. The ISA sought to put on record that the rise in prices of flat products has been caused mainly by the abnormal increase in the prices of iron ore, coal and coke, scrap and freight charges. Dr. Irani said these had risen by about 200 to 400 per cent. He said, "While ISA members are absorbing a major portion of this price increase, they have little or no control over market prices of other products, whose producers are widely spread.'' In conclusion, Dr. Irani said, "In the nation's success, we shall continue to measure ours.''