Wednesday, March 05, 2008

India calls for restraint as steel prices rise

NEW DELHI, March 5 (Reuters) - Indian steel firms should show restraint when considering price rises, the steel minister said on Wednesday, as Tata Steel increased rates with state-run Steel Authority of India and others expected to follow.

Trade officials said rising costs of iron ore and coal in addition to strong demand are squeezing local steel firms.

"My request to the steel industry will be to exercise restraint on any arbitrary price hike for the steel commodities," Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.

Tata Steel, the world's sixth-largest steelmaker, raised prices for the second time this year, increasing those of long products by 1,500-2,000 rupees ($37-$40) a tonne, while flat products went up by 2,500-3,000 rupees per tonne.

JSW Steel, Bhushan Steel  and Ispat Industries  had also already increased steel prices this year.

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