Title: Steel-makers seek 40% export duty on graphite, removal of dumping duty on imports
The steel industry has urged the government to levy export duty of 40 per cent on graphite electrodes, one of the key raw materials, to improve domestic supply and bring down prices. The industry also wants the government to remove the country-specific high anti-dumping duty of $238 -900 a tonne levied on graphite imports.
The levy of anti-dumping duty and strong demand has pushed up domestic graphite electrode prices by over five times in the last three years to $15,000 a tonne, from $2,350 a tonne in June 2015. The rise in graphite prices has pushed up steel making cost by about Rs.1,500-1,700 per tonne.
Bhaskar Chatterjee, Secretary General, Indian Steel Association, said it is important that export of graphite electrodes is restricted given that the Indian steel industry is at the crossroads and several steel producers are going through insolvency proceedings.
To tide over the present situation, he said both the anti- dumping duty and the customs duty on imports of graphite electrodes should be temporarily put in abeyance till the balance between demand and supply is restored globally.
Ravi Jhunjhunwala, Chairman and Managing Director, HEG, one of the largest graphite manufacturer, said the graphite prices are going up due to strong demand and not due to short-supply. He said the rise in graphite price has pushed up steel making cost by 6 per cent from 2 per cent and is surprising that steel companies are not targeting the rise in cost of other raw materials.
Graphite exports from India, which accounts for 24 per cent of global supply, are expected to touch Rs.9,000 crore this year compared to Rs.1,800 crore, said Jhunjhunwala.
The shifting of 60 million tonne steel production from blast furnace to electric arc furnace post shutdown of pollutant blast furnaces in China has pushed up demand for graphite across the globe. Graphite electrodes are used in steel making as a heating element. Every tonne of steel produced through electric arc furnace requires about 2 kg of graphite electrodes. Graphite electrodes production is dominated by only two companies Graphites India and HEG Ltd.