Cheap Steel Imports Drag Down Tata Steel Earnings

Tata Steel Ltd. posted a 69% drop in quarterly profit as a raw material shortage curtailed domestic production and a flood of cheap imports hurt profitability in its European and Indian operations.

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A slowdown in China and a devaluation of the Russian ruble have led to a surge in cheaper steel products entering international markets, pressuring steel prices and squeezing Tata’s margins in Europe, its biggest market, and India.

Consolidated net profit fell to 1.57 billion rupees ($25 million) in the 3 months through Dec. 31, the lowest since the second quarter of 2013, from 5.03 billion a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said in a statement on Friday.

The price of Chinese slab closed Thursday, February 5 at CNY 2,430 ($389.04) per metric ton, halting its two-day flat run with a 1.7% shift. The price of Chinese HRC held steady at CNY 2,570 ($411.45) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat at CNY 1,080 ($172.91) per metric ton. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($134.48) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($134.48) per dry metric ton.

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For the fifth consecutive day, the cash price of steel billet held flat on the LME at $500.00 per metric ton. The 3-month price of steel billet held steady on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.

The US HRC futures contract spot price fell 0.9% to a 30-day low of $542.00 per short ton on Thursday. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price remained essentially flat at $560.00 per short ton.

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