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India could absorb more Russian metals after LME ban, say experts

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Chennai, April 16 (IANS) Countries like India and several other non-US and European nations could buy more Russia-origin metals following last week’s London Metal Exchange (LME) ban.

As expected, the LME has banned the delivery of Russian metals produced from April 13, 2024, onwards due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Reacting to the ban Naveen Mathur, Director – Commodities & Currencies, Anand Rathi Shares said that countries like India, China and Turkey might use this sanction to absorb the extra-produced Russian metals.

“Meanwhile, this could have limited repercussions on short-term fluctuations and the evolving steel sector in India amidst changing global dynamics,” Mathur told IANS.

Queried about the impact of LME’s sanctions against Russian metals globally, Mathur said: “This move could slightly impact the metals globally apart from US trade as Russia is a major producer of aluminium, copper and nickel and it accounts for about 6 per cent of global nickel production, 5 per cent of aluminium and 4 per cent of copper.”

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He said, there will be a minimal impact on supplies in the US as it has been less dependent (less than 1 per cent) on Russia for aluminium.

“The actions are likely to solidify China’s role as the final buyer for Moscow’s goods, possibly resulting in Russian supplies being sold at increasingly lower prices compared to standard LME prices,” Mathur remarked.

As to the impact on the metal prices, Mathur said the prices of aluminium, copper and nickel will move up in the short term and the market will remain volatile mainly due to large uncertainty in supply and LME deliver post-sanctions changes.

Recently Vedanta Aluminium’s CEO John Slaven had told IANS: “If the US and Europe impose sanctions on Russian aluminium now being sold into LME, then there will be a price increase. Further, the ending of the conflict between Russia-Ukraine and the easing of the interest rates in the US is positive for the global economic activity which in turn would drive the demand for metals.”

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According to Slaven, the demand growth in India over the past three years has been about 14 per cent on average. This year, it is 16 per cent and might close the fiscal with a 17 per cent increase.

Slaven said the aluminium demand in India is about five million tonnes and domestically produced aluminium is about 2 million tonnes. So, about 60 per cent of the metal units consumed are imported. Scrap imports account for 1.9 million tonnes and the balance is imported in the form of downstream products.

With the Indian economy in the growth cycle, the metal demand will be high from infrastructure building and other sectors. And, hence the demand will be high for several years to come, unlike the advanced economies, Slaven had said.

Mathur said the LME ban on Russian metals will slightly boost demand for non-Russian metals, which could positively affect LME prices for a shorter period.

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“Ultimately, the new restrictions won’t change these three metals’ (copper, aluminium, nickel) supply and demand balances. However, traders might price in for further reduction in supply chains, the sanctions are unlikely to prevent Russia from being able to sell its metals,” Mathur said.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

–IANS

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Sensex falls 667 points on mixed global cues, Nifty drops to 22,704

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Mumbai, May 29 (IANS) The equity benchmarks in India closed in deep red on Wednesday due to profit booking by investors and mixed global cues – marking a decline for three consecutive days so far this week.

The Sensex was down 667 points or 0.89 per cent at 74,502, while the Nifty closed at 22,704, down 183 points or 0.80 per cent.

Banking index Nifty Bank also declined by more than 1 per cent to close at 48,501, down 640 points or 1.30 per cent.

The midcap and smallcap stocks performed better compared to the largecaps during the session on Wednesday.

The Nifty Midcap 100 index closed at 52,125 points, down 169 points or 0.32 per cent. However, the Nifty Smallcap 100 index increased by 10 points or 0.06 percent to close at 16,886 points.

Sector-wise, pharma and metal stocks were the major gainers, while auto, IT, PSU bank, FMCG, and realty were the major losers.

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The India volatility index (India VIX) closed at 24.17 points on a day when 24 out of 30 Sensex stocks closed in the red.

Tech Mahindra, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finserv, HDFC Bank, UltraTech Cement, and Axis Bank were the top losers, while Power Grid, Sun Pharma, Nestle, ITC, and IndusInd Bank were the top gainers on Wednesday.

Rupak De, Senior Technical Analyst at LKP Securities, said: “The Bank Nifty index has demonstrated a clear shift in sentiment by opening below its support level at 49,000 and trading beneath it. It closed near its 21-day EMA at 48,400. If Bank Nifty fails to maintain above the 21-day EMA, further selling pressure may drive it down to 48,000.”

“Consequently, 48,400 now serves as the support level for Bank Nifty, with 49,000 acting as the new resistance level,” De added.

–IANS

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RBI curbs business of 2 Edelweiss Group firms over breach of rules

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Mumbai, April 29 (IANS) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday imposed business restrictions with immediate effect on two Edelweiss Group firms — ECL Finance Limited and Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company Limited, citing material supervisory concerns.

The RBI has directed ECL Finance Ltd (ECL) to cease and desist, with immediate effect, from undertaking any structured transactions in respect of its wholesale exposures, other than repayment and/ or closure of accounts in its normal course of business

The RBI has also ordered Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (EARCL) to cease and desist from the acquisition of financial assets, including security receipts (SRs) and reorganising the existing SRs into senior and subordinate tranches.

The RBI said that the action is based on material concerns observed during the course of supervisory examinations, essentially arising out of conduct of the group entities acting in concert, by entering into a series of structured transactions for evergreening stressed exposures of ECL, using the platform of EARCL and connected AIFs, thereby circumventing applicable regulations.

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“Incorrect valuation of SRs was also observed in both ECL and EARCL. Apart from the above, in ECL, supervisory observations included submission of incorrect details of its eligible book debts to its lenders for computation of drawing power, non-compliance with loan to value norms for lending against shares, incorrect reporting to Central Repository for Information on Large Credits system (CRILC) and non-adherence to Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines,” the RBI said.

ECL, by taking over loans from non-lender entities of the group for ultimate sale to the group ARC, allowed itself to be used as a conduit to circumvent regulations which permit ARCs to acquire financial assets only from banks and financial institutions, according to the RBI.

In EARCL, other violations included not placing the Reserve Bank’s supervisory letter issued after the previous inspection for 2021-22 before the Board, non-compliance with regulations pertaining to the settlement of loans and sharing of non-public information of its clients with group entities, the RBI said.

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Instead of taking meaningful remedial action to rectify the said deficiencies, it was observed that the group entities were resorting to new ways to circumvent regulations, the RBI added.

–IANS

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Tata Steel Q4 net profit falls 64 per cent, declares dividend of Rs 3.60 per share

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Tata Steel on Wednesday reported a 64 per cent decline in its consolidated net profit at Rs 611 crore for the January-March quarter of 2023-24 as the company grapples to restructure its loss-making UK business.

Tata Steel had reported a net profit of Rs 1,705 crore in the same quarter of the previous financial year.

The company’s total revenue from operations declined to Rs 58,687 crore during the fourth quarter from Rs 62,962 crore in the same period of the previous year.

Over 60 per cent of the revenue accrued from Tata Steel’s operations in India.

The Tata Steel board of directors have recommended a dividend of Rs 3.60 per share and fixed June 21 as the record date to determine the eligibility of shareholders.

The dividend, if approved by the shareholders at the AGM, will be paid on and from July 19, the company said.

–IANS

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India's cold chain sector turnover expected to scale Rs 5 lakh crore mark by 2030

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The turnover of India’s cold chain sector is expected to scale the Rs 5 lakh crore mark by 2030 or 2032, a senior official of the Commerce and Industry Ministry said on Wednesday.

Speaking at FICCI’s Cold Chain and Logistics Summit, Surendra Ahirwar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that the cold chain sector currently has a turnover of about Rs 2 lakh crore and is growing at a rapid rate of over 10 per cent.

Ahirwar highlighted the government’s efforts to create an enabling environment for innovation and efficiency in the cold chain sector.

He mentioned the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan initiative, which catalyses accelerated infrastructure development for the logistics sector, including temperature-controlled warehouses. Besides, he alluded to the National Logistics Policy launched in 2022, which comprehensively addresses various aspects of the logistics sector, including the cold chain.

He emphasised the importance of the industry’s various initiatives, including innovations, infrastructure creation, and partnerships between industry and academia. He cited examples such as temperature-controlled warehousing, ice battery technology, and efficient packaging solutions as positive developments in the sector.

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Speaking on occasion, Asheesh Fotedar, Chief Operating Officer, National Centre for Cold-Chain Development (NCCD), Ministry of Agriculture, highlighted NCCD’s initiatives aimed at bolstering the country’s cold chain infrastructure, with a focus on sustainability, efficiency, and innovation.

He said that NCCD is revising technical standards and minimum guidelines to implement cold-chain components in the sector. The revised guidelines will serve as a roadmap for all central and state government bodies setting up cold chain facilities nationwide. Besides,

NCCD is engaging with stakeholders to identify the problems faced by the reefer truck owners and simultaneously working out the policy part to provide proper recommendations to the ministry.

Fotedar also said that NCCD is developing a mobile application to digitalise data related to cold chain components.

This is expected to increase capacity utilisation, reduce fuel costs, and minimise the carbon footprint. The application will also capture relevant logistics data for policymaking and analytics.

Amit Kumar, Committee – Co-Chairman, FICCI Committee on Logistics stressed the importance of developing sustainable infrastructure and adopting smart technologies to optimise energy usage and reduce environmental impact.

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On the occasion, the FICCI-Grant Thornton Bharat Report on “Cold Chain Dynamics: Mapping India’s Logistics Transformation” was also released.

The knowledge report highlights India’s dynamic food processing industry, emphasising the crucial role of the cold chain sector in light of challenges such as infrastructure gaps and high costs.

–IANS

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EET Retail continues to deliver on ambitious expansion plans

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Stanlow, 28 May 2024 (IANS) EET Retail, the retail division of EET Fuels, has reopened two new service stations recently, with more expected to be opened throughout the year ahead.

The newly branded Spalding service station and Oakham service station signal a new era of convenience and service for the Essar consumer brand.

This expansion is part of a new forward-thinking strategy to develop a significant portfolio of Essar-branded fuel retail outlets and establish a nationwide presence, aligned with EET Retail’s vision to become the UK’s “retailer of choice” to consumers.

Additionally, the company is actively identifying opportunities for potential acquisitions to further accelerate its growth.

A growing forecourt network and increasing brand presence across the country will help the company deliver its promise of ‘Driving Community Convenience’ by making it easy for customers, simple for staff, and providing value for retailers.

EET Retail’s long-term vision includes a solid customer value proposition, offering a range of low-carbon, high-quality fuels, and catering to drivers’ evolving needs, including e-mobility and convenience options.

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Beyond simply fuelling vehicles, the newly rebranded Essar Oakham and Spalding service stations will elevate community convenience with a focus on providing exceptional service and a wide array of amenities.

Narayan Bhatra, CEO of EET Retail, said: “We’re embarking on an exciting journey of growth and innovation in the UK retail sector. With confidence, we’re committed to delivering best in class fuel outlets and building a network of partnerships that align with Essar’s customer-first belief.”

EET Fuels serves the UK energy corridor in the North West and Midlands through its modern road terminal, while our strategic pipeline connections strengthen our capability to supply South West and South East England.

–IANS

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