Weighed down by a whopping $100 (Rs. 4,500) a tonne increase in the international price of hot rolled coils (HRC) in the last one month, Indian steel producers are gearing up to raise prices soon after the Budget. Prices of HRC, which had stabilized after the weakness seen in July-August, went up by Rs. 500 a tonne to Rs. 25,000 this month. Steel industry sources said that the price increase this time could be around Rs 1,000 a tonne. The reasons for the sharp rise in global steel prices are many. After four months of weak prices, many of the mills have shut down furnaces in the US. Moreover, China has shut down some of its inefficient units and is planning to clamp down on exports, which augur well for the price rise all around the world. Due to the dual effect, steel prices in the US are at a premium of $100-$200 per tonne over Asian prices. Last year, the steel guzzler produced 418 million tonne of steel, which is expected to touch 472 million tonne this year. However, this target does not seem to be within reach as many mills closed down in China recently. Analysts say Japan is likely to see rebound with rising forecast from the auto makers while West Asia is in the midst of a spate of construction activities.
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