Amid demand revival, steel companies hike prices by Rs 2,000/T


Amid demand revival, steel companies hike prices by Rs 2,000/T

In a sign of economic activity gradually picking pace in the unlock phase, steel companies have increased the price of the metal for the fourth month in a row in October on the back of demand revival and firm price trends in the overseas market.

Benchmark hot rolled coils (HRC) prices have increased by Rs 1,000-2,000 per tonne for October deliveries to Rs 43,000-43,500 per tonne whereas (cold rolled coil) CRC prices stand at Rs 52,000 per tonne.

The price rise in October is contrary to expectations of a decline in prices in China, where flat steel prices have dropped by four per cent in September 2020.

The price has also increased for long steel products used in real estate projects, but the price rise there is moderate compared to the HRC prices and long products are still priced about Rs 1,500 per tonne lower than flat products.

With the price rise in October, HRC prices are now higher than pre covid price line of Rs 42,000 per tonne.

On a cumulative basis, steel mills have hiked HRC steel prices by Rs 7,000-7,500/tonne since July, 2020. The improved demand outlook is driven by a strong recovery in automotive, consumer durables and other white goods.

“We believe this hike underscores the current strength of domestic demand for flat products (led by recovery in auto and white goods) and tight market supply,” said a sectoral analysis done by brokerage Motilal Oswal Institutional Equities.

“… demand in flat rolled steel is also driven by replenishing of inventories by end-users amidst tight supply of HRC, even as inventories remain low in the system. Further, export commitments of domestic steel mills for October 2020 delivery are further likely to keep the supply situation tight in India,” the brokerage said.

While domestic conditions have pushed up steel prices in the country, pressure points remain by way of falling steel prices in the biggest producing and consuming nation China. There steel prices have declined by $ 25/tonne in both domestic and export markets during September 2020.

Domestic HRC prices, which stood at parity to landed cost of imports from South Korea ($ 555/tonne CNF India) are now trading at a five per cent premium post this hike (to $585/tonne). China export prices have declined to $503/tonne ($ 528/tonne CNF India).

The price trend in China, post the national holidays (which will be over in a week), would determine the direction for regional and domestic steel prices. If prices in China do not improve post the holidays, the Indian prices could be at risk as a 10 per cent premium to Chinese prices would be unsustainable for long. This is because imports would rise substantially, the brokerage report said.

But the good run is expected to continue for long steel products. There is an expectation of recovery in long steel prices with demand recovering post monsoon. The recovery in long steel product prices has remained subdued compared to flat rolled steel as rebar prices are still at Rs 1,500/tonne lower YTD FY21 (while HRC is higher by Rs 5,000/tonne).




Sensex, Nifty ends volatile session with losses


Sensex, Nifty ends volatile session with losses

Domestic markets ended Tuesday’s volatile trade marginally lower amid lack of directional cues from domestic as well as global markets.

The S&P BSE Sensex ended 8.41 points or 0.02 per cent lower at 37,973.22. The equity benchmark hit an intra-day high and low of 38,236 and37,831 respectively. ONGC was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, PowerGrid, Axis Bank, HCL Tech, NTPC and ITC.

On the other hand, UltraTech Cement, TCS, Tata Steel, Titan and HDFC were among the gainers.

On the NSE Nifty slipped 5.15 points or 0.05 per cent to 11,222.40.

On the broader front, the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap ended with losses at 0.16 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively.

According to traders, domestic equities traded on a choppy note amid lack of directional cues from the domestic as well as global markets.

Domestic investors turned cautious after the Reserve Bank postponed its bi-monthly policy review meeting, they said.

Further, market participants across the globe are looking for cues from the first presidential debate between US President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, set for later in the day.

Bourses in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul ended with gains, while Hong Kong was in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a negative note in early deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.44 per cent lower at USD 42.68 per barrel.

In the forex market, the rupee depreciated 7 paise to settle at 73.86 against the US dollar.




Maruti picks 5 new startups under its MAIL programme


Maruti picks 5 new startups under its MAIL programme

Automobile major Maruti Suzuki on Tuesday said that it has shortlisted five new startups as part of its third cohort of MAIL (Mobility & Automobile Innovation Lab) programme the five new statues include: Clean Slate, Peer Robotics, Vicara, Hyper Reality, and URJA.

With the addition of these new startups, “Maruti Suzuki is now engaged with 14 startups under the MAIL programme in the last 18 months,” the automaker said in a statement.

Maruti Suzuki India’s MAIL initiative supports startups by co-creating innovative business solutions. It was launched with an aim to nurture innovation in the automobile and mobility sector in partnership with GHV Accelerator in January 2019.


The initiative aims to create an environment to nurture, foster and guide the early-stage startups, the company said.

“The five startups of cohort 3 underwent an extensive shortlisting process that included screening and pitch sessions.”

“Clean Slate Technologies, a startup from Bengaluru, stood as the winner of the programme, followed by Peer Robotics from Gurgaon as 1st runner up and Vicara from Bengaluru as the 2nd runner up,” the statement said.

These startups will now engage with Maruti Suzuki for paid projects and also will be entitled to other benefits associated with the programme, the company added.

“The auto industry is extremely dynamic and faces new challenges frequently. The lookout for new technological aids to assist the industry and continue working efficiently is an ever-evolving task. Our flagship MAIL programme is now in its 3rd cohort and in each round we come across several innovative ideas that solve real-life industrial challenges,” MSIL Managing Director & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said.

“MAIL programme focusses on offering a platform to these early stage startups where they can translate their big ideas into business solutions. Besides, this they get a unique opportunity to get the idea validated and approved by Maruti Suzuki’s domain experts,” he added.




New printer launched for small office set-up


New printer launched for small office set-up

The versatile and productive device is ideal for home and small offices as it is easy to set up, operate with minimal maintenance, secure and reliable, enabling users to scan, copy, print and fax with ease.

As professionals get accustomed to working from their home/remote offices for an extended period; and the number of small businesses in the country increases, there is a greater demand for an enterprise- experience and a-grade technology in daily operations. A compromised or slow experience results in a feeling of being inefficient and adds to frustration directly impacting productivity. An important aspect of this overall experience is the printing and documentation set-up.

Catering to this demand, Xerox® WorkCentre® 3025 multifunction printer consolidates four office-critical functions into one device with copying, scanning, faxing and printing.

Aimed at serious professionals and growth-minded small business owners, the new A4 multifunction printer (MFP) offers convenience, security and value while immediately upgrading the office set-up, a press release said.

The multifunction printer is priced at Rs 17,000 for WC 3025B (copy, print, scan) and Rs 24,000 for WC 3025N (copy, print, scan and fax) and is available on Amazon and Amazon, Xerox’s channel partners and other leading retail stores.

The Xerox® WorkCentre® 3025 takes forward Xerox’s legacy of being the industry benchmark, offering the latest connectivity options. It allows users to print from any mobile device (iPad or Android), laptop, or desktop with native AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria and Android support, from any location within the home/ office conveniently over wi-fi.

The versatile and productive device is ideal for home and small offices as it is easy to set up, operate with minimal maintenance, secure and reliable, enabling users to scan, copy, print and fax with ease.




Domestic markets end flat; SBI gains over 2%


Domestic markets end flat; SBI gains over 2%

SBI was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, gaining over 2 per cent, followed by TCS, Tech Mahindra, HUL, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Bank and Titan.

After six hours of lacklustre trading, the domestic equity benchmarks ended on a flat note with a positive bias on Friday. The S&P BSE Sensex ended 14.23 points or 0.04 per cent higher at 38,854.55 while the broader NSE Nifty rose 15.20 points or 0.13 per cent to close at 11,464.45.

SBI was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, gaining over 2 per cent, followed by TCS, Tech Mahindra, HUL, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Bank and Titan.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank (plunged nearly 2 per cent), PowerGrid, Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints and HDFC Bank were among the laggards.

Of the 30 constituents, 10 were successful to end with gains while remain 20 declined.

On a weekly basis, Sensex and Nifty added 1.29 per cent and 1.15 per cent respectively.

On the broader market front, the S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap ended with gains by 0.58 per cent and 0.52 per cent respectively.

The markets remained cautious on adverse news-flows of COVID-19 vaccine trials, Sino-India geopolitical tensions and sell-off in US equities, said Sanjeev Zarbade, VP PCG Research, Kotak Securities.

During the talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday evening, India and China agreed on a five-point roadmap including quick disengagement of troops and avoiding any action that could escalate tensions for resolving the four-month-long face-off in eastern Ladakh.

Foreign portfolio investors sold equities worth USD 528 million over the past five trading sessions while domestic institutional investors sold USD 109 million worth of stocks, Zarbade stated.

“While the market is not in a bubble zone, we note that global cues (US markets on correction mode) have started to turn negative and FIIs have turned sellers along with domestic mutual funds,” he added.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a positive note, while stock exchanges in Europe saw a mixed trend.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.35 per cent lower at USD 39.92 per barrel.

In the forex market, the rupee depreciated 7 paise to close at 73.53 against the US dollar.




US stocks fall amid tech sell-off


US stocks fall amid tech sell-off

Market sentiment also turned sour amid disappointing US jobless claims numbers.

US stocks gave up earlier gains to finish sharply lower on Thursday as tech shares lost momentum again after a noticeable rebound in the prior session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 405.89 points, or 1.45 per cent, to end at 27,534.58. The S&P 500 slid 59.77 points, or 1.76 per cent, to 3,339.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 221.97 points, or 1.99 per cent, to 10,919.59, Xinhua reported.

The three major indexes traded on an upbeat note earlier in the day with the 30-stock index up more than 200 points.

Shares of major US tech giants, or the so-called FAANG group of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet, all closed lower. The S&P 500 tech sector sank 2.28 per cent, among the worst-performing groups.

US-listed Chinese companies traded lower, with all the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P US Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.

The moves followed a tech-led market-wide rally on Wednesday that saw the Dow close up more than 400 points, as Wall Street tried to recover from a three-day heavy selling.

“Whether this pullback is now behind us remains to be seen, but volatility is likely to stick around for a little while longer,” Kevin Matras, executive vice president at Zacks Investment Research, said in a note on Thursday.

Market sentiment also turned sour amid disappointing US jobless claims numbers.

US initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, registered 884,000 in the week ending September 5, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast new claims to fall to 840,000.




Reliance Industries looking to sell $20 billion stake in retail unit to Amazon: Report


Reliance Industries looking to sell $20 billion stake in retail unit to Amazon: Report

1. Reliance Retail Limited, a subsidiary of RRVL, operates India’s largest, fastest growing retail business.
2. RIL announced that US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners will invest Rs 7,500 crore for 1.75 per cent stake in its RRVL.

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. is offering to sell 40 per cent stake in its Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL) to Amazon.com Inc. for a whopping amount of $20 billion, a BloombergQuint report said on Thursday, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

Amazon has held talks about investing in Indian major’s retail business and expressed interest in negotiating a potential deal, the report said.

If the deal becomes a success then it will put Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani on the same side of the e-commerce retail market in India, the report said, adding that a deal big as this would be the ‘biggest ever in India as well as for Amazon’.

Meanwhile, Reliance Industries issued a clarification in a BSE filing on Thursday evening, in which the company said, “We would like to reiterate that as a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours and we cannot confirm or deny any transaction which may or may not be in the works. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis.”

“We have made and will continue to make necessary disclosures in compliance with our obligations under Securities Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations 2015 and our agreements with the stock exchanges,” it added.

The oil-to-telecom company has already raised $20 billion earlier this year after it sold stakes in its technology venture, Jio Platforms Ltd., to major global investors including Facebook, Google, Silver Lake and others, report said.

Reliance Retail Limited, a subsidiary of RRVL, operates India’s largest, fastest growing retail business serving close to 640 million footfalls across its about 12,000 stores nationwide.

On Wednesday, RIL announced that US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners will invest Rs 7,500 crore for 1.75 per cent stake in its RRVL.

Late last month, Reliance acquired the retail and logistics businesses of Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore to boost its retail vertical.

Shares of Reliance Industries jumped 8.45 per cent to a record high of Rs 2,343.90 on the BSE during the day. It ended at Rs 2,314.65, up by Rs 153.40 or 7.10 per cent.

(Additional input from agencies)




BPCL to offer stock options to employees


BPCL to offer stock options to employees

The government is selling all of its 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL to a strategic investor. Expression of Interest (EoI) for the privatisation is due on September 30.

State-owned Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) has offered its employees stock options at one-third of the market price as the company looks to reward staff ahead of its privatisation.

The board of BPCL on Friday “approved the proposed Employee Stock Purchase Scheme (ESPS) to the specified employees through the trust mechanism, subject to the approval of the shareholders”, the company said in a regulatory filing.

While BPCL did not give details, a source with direct knowledge of the development said ‘BPCL Trust for Investment in Shares’ holds around 9.33 per cent stake of the company’s paid-up share capital.


 
Of this, 2 per cent will be offered to employees at one-third the price of BPCL scrip in the preceding six months, he said.

There will be no change in government’s shareholding in the company.

The government is selling all of its 52.98 per cent stake in BPCL to a strategic investor. Expression of Interest (EoI) for the privatisation is due on September 30.

“The Trust formed for the purpose shall purchase the aforesaid shares from the ‘BPCL Trust for Investment in Shares’ by way of secondary acquisition through the stock exchanges as per the SEBI (Share Based Employee Benefits) Regulations, 2014 and other applicable laws,” the company said in the regulatory filing.

The source said the number of shares to be offered under the ESPS will depend on the grade of the employee and even directors on the company board would be eligible for the offer.

There will be a one-year lock-in period for the shares that employees buy under ESPS, he added.

BPCL, he said, has not yet decided on what to do with the residual 7.33 per cent stake held by the Trust.

‘BPCL Trust for Investment in Shares’ is an independent entity, of which the company BPCL is a beneficiary.

ESPS will be executed in strict compliance of the SEBI norms, the person said adding BPCL will seek shareholders’ approval for the scheme at its upcoming annual general meeting (AGM) later this month.

After shareholders approve, BPCL will make a former offer to employees.

BPCL closed at Rs 403.40 per share on the BSE on Friday.

Last month, it offered a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to some of its employees as part of the planned privatisation.

About 1,200 employees are likely to be given VRS, the source said.

BPCL stake sale is crucial to meeting government’s record Rs 2.1 lakh crore divestment target for the current fiscal.




Sensex, Nifty end marginally lower; Titan rises 6%


Sensex, Nifty end marginally lower; Titan rises 6%

Domestic equity indices ended negative on Thursday, dragged by banking counters as overall weak macroeconomic scenario weighed on investor sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex ended 95.09 points or 0.24 per cent lower at 38,990.94 with Titan being the top gainer, rose nearly 6 per cent, and ICICI Bank was the top loser, shedding around 2 per cent.

Other gainers on the BSE charts included Tech Mahindra, Nestle, Maruti, Sun Pharma and Asian Paints. On the other hand, losers included shedding Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank and PowerGrid.

On the NSE, the benchmark Nifty50 closed 7.55 points or 0.07 per cent down at 11,527.45.

Sectorally, BSE bankex, finance, metal, energy, realty and utilities indices fell up to 1.51 per cent.

While consumer durables, IT, teck, capital goods, industrials and auto indices rose up to 3.37 per cent.

Broader midcap and smallcap indices outperformed the BSE benchmark, ending up to 0.74 per cent higher.

“Markets exhibited volatility and ended flat for the day, switching between gains and losses. However, global markets, especially Europe, were generally positive for the day, anticipating better economic data, Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said.

Domestically, data emerged that the services sector had contracted for the 6th consecutive month, in spite of phased reopening of the economy in the last two months, he said, adding that this has led to worries that the comeback, foreseen for the economy, could be long drawn out.

The market turned negative after the latest IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) contracted for the sixth successive month in August.

The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index rose sharply from 34.2 in July to 41.8 in August, the highest since March, before the escalation of the pandemic.

The downturn in India’s services sector activity eased in August but remained in the contraction zone as COVID-19 pandemic-induced restrictions continued to adversely impact client demand and business operations.

Bourses in Shanghai and Hong Kong ended in the red, while Tokyo and Seoul closed with gains.

Stock exchanges on in Europe were trading on a positive note in early deals.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.40 per cent lower at USD 43.81 per barrel.

In the forex market, the rupee depreciated 44 paise and closed at 73.47 against the US dollar.

 



Diesel price lowered for first time in six months in September; Petrol unchanged


Diesel price lowered for first time in six months in September; Petrol unchanged

In the national capital diesel was now at Rs 73.40 per litre, as against Rs 73.56 a litre previously, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

Prices of diesel were lowered marginally on Thursday, marking its first cut for the first time in close to six months after state-owned fuel retailers reduced retail selling rate by 16 paise per litre.

In the national capital diesel was now at Rs 73.40 per litre, as against Rs 73.56 a litre previously, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

Petrol, which witnessed the second rally in rates beginning mid-August, was unchanged at Rs 82.08 a litre.

Thursday’s cut is the first reduction in diesel price since mid-March. It was then when Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) had kept the diesel rates unchanged 82 days to adjust a record hike in excise duty on auto fuels against falling benchmark cost.

Before the latest reduction, diesel rates had gone up by Rs 12.55 a litre between June 7 and July 25. Diesel price has remained unchanged in the country since July 25, except in Delhi where a reduction in VAT lowered the rate by Rs 8.38 per litre.

Petrol price went up by Rs 9.17 per litre between June 7 and June 29 before hitting a pause. The revision cycle again started on August 16 and rates have gone up by Rs 1.51 since then. In all, the petrol price has risen by Rs 10.68 since June 7.

In Mumbai, petrol comes for Rs 88.73 per litre while diesel is priced at Rs 79.94, as against Rs 80.11 previously, according to the price notification.

In Kolkata, petrol is priced at Rs 83.57, while diesel now costs Rs 76.90 a litre, down from Rs 77.06 previously.

In Chennai, petrol comes for Rs 85.04 a litre and diesel for Rs 78.71, as against Rs 78.86 previously.

State-owned fuel retailers revise rates of petrol and diesel daily based on average price of benchmark fuel in the preceding 15 days.

Oil PSUs Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) review the rates for petrol and diesel in various parts of the country on a regular basis. The three organisations implement any changed in the rates at fuel pumps with effect from 6 am daily.




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