With the Russia-Ukraine war having taken centre stage, commodity prices have been set ablaze across various markets. Metal prices have reacted to the ongoing tensions as well. Steel prices have shot up by 10 percent in Europe in the last two days, shared VR Sharma, MD, JSPL, in an interview to CNBC-TV18. He added that input prices are very high at the moment, be it coking coal or gas, however, the only saving grace is that there are no shortages of raw materials in India.
He said, “There is a worldwide crisis because of the war (Russian-Ukraine). The energy prices have gone up everywhere in the world and steel prices, in Europe, shot up by 10 percent in the last two days. Yesterday, March 1, ArcelorMittal declared an increase of 150 euros on hot-rolled coil because input costs are very high. So this is going to create a lot of uncertainties in the market, but the benefit will be availed by the steel suppliers where there is no energy, raw material or input shortage, for example, in India.”
Delving deeper into the tribulations that the industry is currently grappling with, Sharma shared coking coal prices have gone up by $40 per tonne in the last two weeks. Further, he mentioned that around 50 percent of input costs for the steel industry is towards energy and it is facing a threat in terms of energy costs. He elaborated that natural gas prices are at $25-30/mmbtu. In order to combat the rising raw material price pressures, the company hiked its prices on Tuesday, Sharma mentioned.
He said, “We are trying to push the input cost rise to the market. The international market is excellent as far as prices are concerned because there are a lot of inquiries, a lot of orders coming from Europe and also from America.”
Meanwhile, Amit Dixit, Director-Institutional Equities, Edelweiss Securities, views the Russia-Ukraine conflict as an opportunity for the Indian steel players. He explained that Russia is a big exporter of steel in global markets and since Japanese and Korean mills don’t have meaningful steel exports, it naturally presents an opportunity on a platter to some of the Indian players in the steel industry.
He mentioned that JSPL, JSW Steel and Tata Steel could be some of the beneficiaries, meanwhile, Hindalco would benefit in the aluminium space.
For the entire discussion, watch the accompanying video