• The infrastructure sector is showing a rising trend. In FY19, the sector shows a 7.5% growth, against a rise of 5.6% in FY18.
  • As cement and steel are aligned each other in RCC structure and concrete foundations, the demand for steel from this segment is ensured. Reasonably stable growth in steel and cement output in FY19 have led to an improvement in steel-cement ratio to 0.328 in the last year and the trend is rising.
  • As around 62% of steel consumption goes in for infrastructure and construction segment, the government expenditure in terms of public investment in the Railways, DFC, Metro, roads and urban infrastructure (along with private investment), airports, ports and shipbuilding would ensure that demand for steel from this segment would continue to grow.
  • Among other components of steel consumption, the automobile sector, Engineering and fabrication segment, the intermediate goods segment (drums and barrels, container), the manufacturing sector have been facing challenges.
  • The 6% steel consumption in other transport (rails, ships, aircrafts) and packaging (tin plates) is reasonably sound and will continue to be so in the next few years. And around 32% of steel consumption (auto and engineering segments) is facing hurdles in the current year.
  • Amid strengthening of the dollar against Asian currencies and rising crude oil prices, the rupee closed 19 paise lower at 69.65 against the US dollar on Monday (June 10, 2019).
  • However, gains in domestic equities and foreign fund inflows supported the rupee and capped its losses to some extent.
  • Essar Ports has registered a 29% growth in cargo volumes in the first two months of FY20 (April-May 2019), with a quantity of 9.2 million tonnes. Essar Ports operates four terminals on the east and west coasts of India. The current operational capacity of the port terminals in India is 110 MTPA.
  • According to a company statement, the growth has been driven by a 131% increase in third-party cargo when compared to the same period in the previous financial year. Cargo volumes from captive customers also grew by 11%.
  • The overall cargo handled in (April-May 2019) was 9.2 MT over 7.2 MT in (April-May 2018), while captive cargo was 6.7 MT (6.1 MT), and third party cargo stood at 2.5 MT (1.1 MT).
  • In May 2019, the four terminals cumulatively handled about 4.8 MT of cargo compared to nearly 3.6 MT in May 2018, a growth of 34%.
  • Coal India Ltd is looking at acquiring a mine in Australia and will soon appoint a merchant banker to handle the transaction. The PSU board will finalise the terms of the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) on June 19,
  • Currently, CIL is not able to meet the entire demand for coking coal from local steel makers from its own mines and resorts to imports.
  • CIL has opened an office in Brisbane and created a war treasure of Rs 6,000 crore.
  • In October 2018, CIL had considered to acquire 20-30% stake in Australian coal asset. While no deal has happened since, it is now open to acquiring an entire mine.Australia would be CIL’s second overseas venture after Mozambique, where it has got permission to explore coal reserves.

    It has created Coal India Africana Limited.

  • CIL produced 607 million tonne of coal in FY19.  As coking coal production was not enough to meet the demand of the domestic steel plants, CIL imported 47.73 million tonne of coking coal in FY19 and had to supply to the steel plants at international prices.Owning mines or holding stake and off-take rights in foreign mines would enable the company to supply coking coal to the steel plants at a price below the benchmark international prices, as per the official.
  • India could review the goods and services tax (GST) structure to further crop the number of items in the highest slab of 28% as it attempts to stave off a slump in demand.
  • Some states are favouring a reduction in tax rates since they are worried that the slowdown may get entrenched.
  • The GST Council may meet on June 20, ahead of the budget presentation on July 5, and these issues could figure in the discussions. The meeting of the council to be chaired by Nirmala Sitharaman, union finance minister.
  • According to the sources, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), in need of funds to repay debt and build new highways, will soon invite requests for proposal (RFPs) for two TOT tranches, measuring a total of 970 km, hoping to garner at least Rs 9,000 crore through this model in FY20.
  • For the first time in October 2017, NHAI had invited bids for such public-funded highway projects.In the first tranche, nine highway projects were offered and Australia-based Macquarie bagged them quoting Rs 9,681.5 crore for the total length of 680.5 km against the floor price of Rs 6,258 crore.

    NHAI’s second TOT attempt, however, failed.

  • Even if NHAI had to abort the second round of auction under the toll-operate-transfer (TOT) model due to lack of investor interest, it still plans to monetise its operational projects.