Iron ore imports zoom 190% to 6.34 mt in Apr-Aug
Data from the Pellet Manufacturers Association of India (PMAI) show a projection of over 12 mt for the full year. In 2017-18, ore import was 8.6 mt, itself 48 per cent higher than in 2016-17.
Imports are on an upswing since steel plants on the coast have shown an increasing tendency to import the key ingredient. Importing is the cheaper option for such units compared to buying from the domestic market.
A senior executive with a steel company said, “Price hikes (of ore) in the domestic market have been exorbitant in the past three to four months. Importing of ore is viable for operations.”
Between July and September, prices of iron ore fines in Odisha, the largest producing state, rose 80 per cent, while prices of lumps moved up 29 per cent. Government-owned NMDC, the single biggest producer, raised prices twice last month. In the latest instance, it raised the price of lumps by 8.4 per cent to Rs 3,850 a tonne and that of fines by 6.4 per cent to Rs 3,310 a tonne. The company ascribed this to less production due to the rains and robust demand, with firming up of steel and sponge iron prices.