The impact on performance will not only be led by demand loss and realisations, but also pressure on margins. The latter is expected to be led by higher input prices apart from weaker steel pricing. The aggressive bidding in recent mine auctions in Odisha will keep iron ore costs high in the near term, feel analysts. The normalising situation in China means that Chinese demand for iron ore and coal will start rising, thereby keeping input prices steady. Thus, while realisations take a hit, pressure on margins may intensify with input costs remaining steady.
The start of production in China would also mean higher Chinese exports. China has recently increased VAT rebate on exports from 9 per cent to 13 per cent. This would also mean reduced opportunities for Indian exporters. Manufacturers as JSW Steel, which have exposure to exports, may feel the heat not only in Asia but in Europe too.
Further, with rising inventories and higher input costs, the manufacturers may see an impact on their working capital requirements as well.
Not surprisingly, analysts at Emkay Global say they expect steel margins to contract sharply in Q1FY21 and continue at the same levels till Q2FY21 given the onset of monsoons, which is traditionally a soft period. Analysts have been generally cutting target prices for Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL), even as the stocks tradrd near 52-week lows.