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High coking coal prices to impact gross margins of steel mills, says Ind-Ra

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New Delhi, Sep 4: High coking coal prices are likely to impact gross margins of steel mills, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

Accordingly, coking coal prices were up 5 per cent MoM and 103 per cent YoY to $222 per MT in mid-August 2021.

“Australian coking coal prices are receiving support from a strong demand from Asian countries, ex-China. The limited availability of prompt coking coal cargoes for near-term deliveries due to logistical issues, including freight and container unavailability and high freight rates, could support coking coal prices over the near term.”

“While China’s imports are from ex-Australia suppliers, these countries are not likely to be able to bridge the supply deficit, especially when the domestic consumption within these ex-Australia supplier countries is also increasing with resumption in economic activities, further restricting supply.”

“This will support international coking coal prices.”

India’s coking coal imports at 5.76 MT in July 2021 were 65 per cent MoM and 114 per cent YoY higher.

“While steel production has improved, domestic steel mills had postponed procurements due to higher coking coal prices. However, lower inventories prompted steel producers to import higher volumes in July 2021.”

A key trend, Ind-Ra observed is the preference of Indian blast furnace producers for better grades of coking coal to maximise production yield, considering that freight costs are the same irrespective of the grade, amid container shortages and higher freight costs.

India’s finished steel consumption in July 2021 stood at 7.66 MnT, 1.3 per cent MoM and 4.8 per cent YoY higher.

However, domestic consumption was weak over June-July 2021 due to a lower demand from end-use industries such as construction and infra, with the onset of the monsoon.

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World Banks says agriculture and labour reforms will boost medium-term growth in India

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United Nations: The World Bank has marked India as the second-fastest growing major economy in the world which is expected to grow by 8.3 per cent in the present financial year. The World Bank’s Regional Economic Update suggests that after the “deadly second wave” of COVID-19 in India “the pace of vaccination, which is increasing, will determine economic prospects this year and beyond.”

“The trajectory of the pandemic will cloud the outlook in the near term until herd immunity is achieved,” the report cautioned. India’ gross domestic product (GDP) which shrank by 7.3 per cent (that is, a minus 7.3 per cent) under the onslaught of the pandemic last fiscal year is expected to record 8.3 per cent growth this fiscal year, which will moderate to 7.5 per cent next year and 6.5 per cent in 2023-24. These Updates were issued ahead of the World Bank’s annual meeting next week,

The COVID-19 pandemic contracted not only India’s economy but also the global economy in fiscal year 2020-21 despite well-crafted fiscal and monetary policy support in India. However, growth recovered in India in the second half of the last fiscal year driven primarily by investment and supported by unlocking’ of the economy and targeted fiscal, monetary and regulatory measures. Manufacturing and construction growth recovered steadily.

Although significantly more lives were lost during the second wave of the epidemic this year in India, compared to the first wave in 2020, “economic disruption was limited since restrictions were localised,” with the GDP growing by 20.1 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year compared to the first quarter of 2020-21. It attributed the spurt to “a significant base effect” (that is, coming off a very big fall in the compared quarter), “strong export growth and limited damage to domestic demand.”

The Bank’s Update said that successful implementation of agriculture and labour reforms would boost medium-term growth while cautioning that weakened household and firm balance sheets may constrain it.

The Production-Linked Incentives (PLIs) scheme to boost manufacturing, and a planned increase in public investment, should support domestic demand. The extent of recovery during the current fiscal year “will depend on how quickly household incomes recover and activity in the informal sector and smaller firms normalises,” the report says.

Among the risks included, worsening of financial sector stress, higher-than-expected inflation constraining monetary-policy support, and a slowdown in vaccination. The Indian government has taken steps to strengthen social safety nets and ease structural supply constraints through agricultural and labour reforms deal with the inequality. It said that the government continued investing in health programmes “have started to address the weaknesses in health infrastructure and social safety nets (especially in the urban areas and the informal sector) exposed by the pandemic.

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Government clarifies that Air India employees to be retained for a year

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New Delhi: After the sale of Air India to Tata Sons, the future of its employees was a big concern. As per the deal, all the existing employees of Air India will have to be retained for one year after the privatisation.

The government of India on October 8, 2021 has made it clear by setting a precedent for all public sector undertakings (PSU). Tatas have won the bid to acquire the debt-ridden national career Air India offering Rs 18,000 crore for acquiring 100 per cent shareholding. Tatas beat SpiceJet promoter to bag the deal.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), said that Tatas’ bid of Rs 18,000 crore comprises taking over of Rs 15,300 crore of debt and paying the rest in cash. Both bidders had quoted above the reserve price. Pandey said that transaction was planned to be closed by December. A group of ministers comprising Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has cleared the winning bid for Air India on October 4.

This marks the return of Air India to the Tatas. Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata founded the airline in 1932. It was called Tata Airlines then. In 1946, the aviation division of Tata Sons was listed as Air India and in 1948, Air India International was launched with flights to Europe. The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest.

In 1953, Air India was nationalised. The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

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Air India goes to Tata Sons, Ratan Tata tweets, Welcome Back!

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New Delhi: Finally, Air India has gone to Tata Group which emerged the highest bidder. This was a much-awaited deal for the Government of India which wanted to sell this national career from a very long time. Welcome back, Air India, tweets Ratan Tata on Tata Sons winning the bid for Air India.
An SPV of Tata Sons – the holding company of conglomerate – has emerged as successful bidder, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) — the government department responsible for privatisation, said.

The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest. In 1953, Air India was nationalised. The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

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