India's JSW Steel says scrapping export tax helps compete globally

FILE PHOTO: JSW Steel Limited Joint Managing Director and Group CFO Seshagiri Rao poses for a picture in front of the company logo at their headquarters in Mumbai

By Neha Arora

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's removal of export duty on steel intermediates "immensely helps" domestic companies compete in international markets amid a global slowdown in consumption of the alloy, JSW Steel's finance chief, Seshagiri Rao M.V.S., told Reuters on Monday.

India scrapped export taxes on low-grade iron ore and on some intermediate steel products beginning Saturday, after months of complaints from miners and steel makers about the loss of foreign sales opportunities.

JSW's Rao, however, said export opportunities were limited.

India's finished steel exports more than halved during the first seven months of this fiscal year that began in April, government data showed earlier this month, as large mills held back shipments due to export taxes.

JSW Steel, the country's largest steelmaker by capacity, said earlier this month it expected its exports in the financial year to March 2023 to fall to their lowest level in more than five years because of reduced global demand and the additional taxation.

Separately, a senior official at Jindal Steel and Power said on Monday the company was mending broken relationships with customers in Europe.

"We are restoring the relationships that were broken because of the export duties," said Bimlendra Jha, managing director, .

"There is consistent demand for plates in Europe for the ongoing projects."

The taxes imposed in May were intended to boost the domestic supply of iron ore, a key steel-making raw material, and thereby put down inflation.

(Reporting by Neha Arora in New Delhi; Writing by Chris Thomas; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)