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India’s NMDC hikes iron ore prices on steel rebound

India’s largest iron ore producer state-controlled NMDC has increased its prices for the first time since May last year with increased demand for steel.

NMDC has increased its monthly domestic prices for February by 300 rupees/t ($4/t) to Rs5,200/t for lump with 65.5pc Fe content and by Rs200 to Rs4,260/t for 10mm fines with 64pc Fe. Prices are lower by 9pc and 11pc from a year earlier respectively.

“The price hike is not very surprising as steel prices have increased in the last two weeks, pointing at an improving demand scenario,” said rating agency Icra Research’s assistant vice-president Ritabrata Ghosh.

India hot-rolled coil (HRC) index was at Rs65,500/t on 28 January, up by 17pc from a year earlier. The Argus CFR Asean HRC index was $765/t on 31 January, also up by 17pc from the previous year.

Domestic steel demand had weakened during November and December because of a construction ban in north India and unseasonable rain in the south of the country. India’s December finished steel consumption dropped by 15pc from the previous year to 8.73mn t.

The ICX 62pc iron ore index was $147.10/dry metric tonne today, 6pc lower from a year earlier but 23pc higher from the previous month. Prices have risen on the back of supply disruptions and expectations of firm post-lunar new year holiday demand from China.