Despite signs of revival, cement demand remains weak
Cement demand continues to remain lacklustre though there are signs of revival in the economy, what with the Reserve Bank of India thrice cutting key bank rates this year.
Many banks, laden with huge loan defaults, have not fully passed on the benefit of lower lending rates to borrowers. This apart, large infrastructure and real estate companies are extremely cautious on fresh investments, given the high debt on their books. However, government spending on infrastructure projects is expected to boost demand from the second half of this fiscal.
The industry is keeping watch on the progress of the monsoon, with hopes that better rains could push up demand in rural regions.
The demand in June was better compared to the preceding three months, with increase in spending on infrastructure projects by government. However the housing sector remains sluggish, said a cement dealer.
Amit Kumar Singh, Vice President, Choice Broking said there may be a slight revival in cement demand from the second half of the fiscal, but prices may still be under pressure as companies try to ramp up their capacity utilisation. “The price realisation in the northern States may be better than other regions as fresh capacity addition is lower compared to other places. We expect overall capacity to improve marginally by 72 per cent, compared to 71 per cent last fiscal,” he added.
Except for the southern region, cement prices are under pressure across regions as companies try to increase capacity utilisation by pushing in their produce at the slightest sign of demand revival. The capacity utilisation in the southern States has hovered around 40-45 per cent while it ranges between 70-75 per cent across other States, sources said.
Pick up in June
In June, cement prices rose in a few markets due to seasonal uptick in demand from infrastructure projects before the monsoon and supply discipline adhered by companies, said J Radhakrishnan, research analyst at IIFL Capital.
However, he added, the overall recovery in prices was muted compared with the increase in last few years in June as the monsoon was better so far this year.
Exporters, importers can now pay application fees for schemes online
Exporters and importers can now pay application fees for various schemes and facilities online with debit and credit cards obviating the need for them to visit Government offices and banks.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Commerce Ministry launched the online payment facility on Thursday. The facility also allows electronic funds transfer from 53 banks, according to an official release. The facility was inaugurated by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia.
“The facility of online payment is in keeping with the Digital India vision of the Prime Minister, and is yet another small but crucial step towards paperless, online functioning in a 24×7 environment,” the DGFT office said.
Recently, the DGFT operationalised the facility for online filing of various applications by exporters/ importers under the Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20). It also implemented a facility for online submission of applications for issue of the online Importer Exporter Code in digital format or e-IEC for entrepreneurs/exporters/importers.
Oilmeal shipments decline steeply by 34 pc in June
A steep fall in soyabean crushing by mills due to the high price of beans in the domestic market has caused oilmeal exports to fall significantly by 34 per cent to 1.37 lakh tonnes (lt) in June as against 2.07 lt in the same period last year, market sources said.
Soyameal exports nosedived to a record 2,098 tonnes last month against the previous low of 14,046 tonnes in May and 18,017 tonnes logged in April.
Meanwhile, soyabean meal prices dropped seven per cent in June at $553 (Rs 34,839) a tonne against $ 592 (Rs 37,296) in May.
Kerala millers urge Centre to refrain from imposing import duty on wheat
The decision to impose import duty on wheat has prompted Kerala flour millers to urge the Central government to refrain from doing so as they would be deprived from getting quality foodgrain, sources said.
“Import of some quantity of high quality wheat from countries such as Australia is now a necessity in order to ensure the quality and nutritious value of the final wheat products,” Mr P. K. Ahammed, President of Kerala Roller Flour Millers Association, said.
They said it is necessary to import quality wheat from Australia as the quality of foodgrain in the country was poor due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm in Northern India. The millers blend the imported wheat with Indian wheat to produce wheat products acceptable to consumers.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) procured wheat for the current season after relaxing norms in order to help farmers.
Mr Ahammed suggested that to monitor wheat imports, the government could introduce a procedure to register all import contracts with nodal agencies such as Apeda as a check and balance mechanism and such registered contracts may be exempt from the duty.
This post was written by Atlantic Admin