Sunday, December 10, 2017

China coal imports rise in November despite push against pollution

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese coal imports rose in November from the month before on firm demand during the winter heating season, even as Beijing encourages a shift to cleaner fuels in its battle against pollution.
Shipments into the world’s top coal importer reached 22.05 million tonnes in November, up 3.6 percent from October, but down from 26.97 million tonnes a year ago, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday.
The figures include lignite, a type of coal with a lower heating value that is largely supplied by Indonesia.Year-to-date imports were up 8.4 percent at 248.17 million tonnes, according to the data.
“Coal traders are seeking cheaper fuel from overseas markets as miners in China have been ordered to cut capacity to tackle environmental and safety inspections,” said Zhang Min, analyst at Sublime Info.
Coal prices in China have risen steadily this year, touching their highest since at least 2015 at 688.8 yuan ($104.07) a ton on Dec.4.
Utilities in northern China have been running at full tilt since November as households crank up heating systems for winter, while a plan to convert many cities to cleaner fuels has run into headwinds.The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently told local authorities that have not converted to gas or electric heating that they may burn coal or other fuels, media reported.“Coal imports are expected to go up in December since many domestic coal miners are choosing to halt production for maintain,” said Zhang, adding that the suspension may involve about a third of monthly output.

Friday, November 3, 2017

India could raise import duty on vegetable oil: government sources

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India, the world’s biggest buyer of vegetable oils, is considering raising import taxes on crude and refined edible oils to protect local farmers, two government officials told Reuters.Local oilseed crushers are struggling to compete with cheaper edible oil imports from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina, reducing demand for local rapeseed and soybeans, even after steep fall in oilseed prices.

In August New Delhi had doubled the import tax on crude palm oils to 15 percent and raised the import tax on refined palm oils to 25 percent, increasing the differential in duty by 10 percentage points to encourage local processing.Despite the hike, prices of key oilseeds such as soybeans and rapeseed are trading below the government set price level in physical market, angering farmers.

“Prices of oilseeds have fallen sharply in last few weeks. There is no option but to raise import duty to support farmers,” said a government official, who declined to be named.

The government could raise import duty by 10 percent for both crude and refined edible oils, another official said.

New Delhi spends about $10 billion a year to import palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia and relatively smaller quantities of soyoil from Brazil and Argentina.The government also considering to provide subsidy for exports of soymeal as Indian soymeal is expensive compared to south American supplies, the officials said.

Large inventories and lower prices have fomented a wave of protests by farmers in the big agrarian states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

India, the world’s biggest consumer of pulses, is also contemplating imposing an import duty on yellow peas, the officials said.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Maruti Suzuki becomes India’s top exporter of passenger cars

Most popular car manufacturer in India, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has become the largest exporter of passenger cars from the country in the first half of the current fiscal, replacing Hyundai Motor India Ltd.

During the period April-September of the ongoing fiscal, Maruti Suzuki shipped 57,300 units of passenger cars, an increase of 6% compared to 54,008 units exported in the same period a year earlier, as per the recent data by apex industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
The number one exporter for a long time, Hyundai Motor India Ltd exported 44,585 units of passenger cars, witnessing a steep drop of 29.25% compared to 63,014 units shipped in the same period a year ago. The company has now been moved to the fourth position after Volkswagen and General Motors.

During the April-September period, 50,410 units of passenger cars were exported by Volkswagen India, a growth of 16.92% compared to 43,114 units over year-ago period.

The company now becomes the second largest exporter of passenger cars, after Maruti Suzuki.

General Motors, which had decided in May this year, to end selling its vehicles in the domestic market after struggling for over two decades to make a mark in the country, is become the third-largest exporter of passenger cars.

In the first six months of the current financial year, General Motors shipped 45,222 units of passenger cars as compared to 30,613 units in the same period last year, recording an increase of 47.72%.

It exports vehicles from the manufacturing unit at Talegaon in the state of Maharashtra.

Ford India also posted a notable rise in passenger cars exports during the period. Its exports from India stood at 42,412 units compared to 31,467 units in the year-earlier period, recording a growth of 34.78%.

Nissan Motor India, the third-largest exporter from India last year, witnessed a decline of 37.11% in its overseas shipments during the April-September period, exporting 30,872 units, compared to 49,091 units in the similar period last year. The company now is on the sixth spot in passenger cars export from India.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Steel production rises 5.1%, consumption up 4.3% in April-September

India’s half-yearly steel production during April-September period rose by 5.1 per cent to 52.079 million tonnes (MT) while country’s consumption grew by 4.3 per cent to 42.883 MT in the same period, a Steel Ministry report said.

“Production for sale of total finished steel at 52.079 mt, registered a growth of 5.1 per cent during April-September 2017 over the same period last year… consumption of finished steel in India saw a growth of 4.3 per cent in April-September 2017 (42.883 MT) over the same period last year, under the influence of rising production for sale and imports,” the Ministry’s Joint Plant Committee’s (JPC) report said.

SAIL, RINL, TSL, Essar, JSWL and JSPL together produced 30.44 mt during the first six months of the current fiscal, which was a growth of 9.8 per cent over same period of last year.

However, the report said overall production for sale of total finished steel at 8.814 MT in September was down by 0.2 per cent over August 2017 but was up by 5.6 per cent over corresponding month last year.

“During April-September 2017, crude steel production was 49.764 MT, a growth of 4.5 per cent over same period of last year,” the report said.

According to it, the consumption at 7.449 MT last month was up by 4 per cent over September 2016.

However, India’s total import of finished steel at 4.318 MT in April-September period was up 20.1 per cent over the same period last year. Imports in September was 0.81 MT, up 31.9 per cent over year-ago month.

The report also said India’s steel export grew by 60.1 per cent to 4.852 MT in the first six months of the current fiscal over the same period last year.“Overall exports in September 2017, at 1.119 MT, was up by 20.8 per cent over August 2017 and was up by 70.6 per cent over September 2016,” it added.

India plans to lessen its drug reliance on China

NEW DELHI: The recent tension between India and China has prompted the government here to think of measures to reduce its dependence on China for pharmaceutical products.
The health ministry along with drug regulators is planning to take a series of measures to limit reliance on China as well as tighten the regulatory checks and balances to ensure only good quality supplies are entering the Indian market.
Currently, India gets 70-80% of its medicines and medical devices supplies, including raw material for pharmaceuticals (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) from China. This poses a major risk of severe drug shortage if India's diplomatic relations with China worsen.
In fact, in 2014, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval + had also warned the government about India's over-dependence on China for API and how tension between the two countries can cause a crisis in the public health system of India.
Following Doval's alert, the government had formed a committee of experts to formulate a specific policy to boost API manufacturing in India.
The list of regulatory and financial measures being planned by the government includes routine inspections of plants, higher registration charges, hike in licensing fee, tougher sourcing procedures, higher customs duty and deeper scrutiny of supply chain.
"We do not want the trade to cease between the two countries. The idea is to regulate small foreign players who may not be supplying quality products but giving pricing advantage. This in turn is hurting the interest of Indian patients as well as the industry. We want to create a level playing field for Indian companies and also ensure good quality products for Indian patients," Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) G N Singh said.
The regulator is planning to start site inspections from next month itself, he said. The government is also planning to make changes to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules soon to hike registration charges and licensing fees.
Industry executives say Indian companies are subjected to much higher fees when they sell their products in China or in other countries but apart from imposing tougher norms on Chinese companies, the government must also take steps to boost the growth of Indian industry.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Commerce Min to revisit $900 bn exports target

The commerce ministry today said it will revisit the USD 900 billion exports target by 2019-20 as the country's shipments are not able to show healthy growth rate in the first three years. After holding over three-hour long meeting with exporters, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that certainly there is a need to revisit the export target because in the external world nobody calculated for the global commodity prices and currency fluctuations.

"We are certainly not going to aim for the same target because we have not been able to show that growth rate in the first three years," she told reporters here.

On April 1, 2015, the government announced a slew of incentives and new institutional mechanisms as part of the new Foreign Trade Policy (2015-2020) to nearly double country's goods and services exports to USD 900 billion by 2019-2020.

India exports goods worth around USD 300 billion per fiscal year, while services exports amounted to around USD 150 billion annually.
On whether the ministry would come out with the mid-term review of the foreign trade policy, she said Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu would take a call after returning from Morocco, where he is going for a WTO (World Trade Organisation) meeting.

"Whether we will issue a formal statement of intent (on the policy), the minister has to take a view on that," she said.

However, she added that the mid-term review is on and some got addressed through the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Speaking to reporters, Prabhu said that it was agreed in the meeting that each export promotion council (EPC) "is now going to prepare a concrete strategic action plan for what can be done in the foreseeable future" to boost exports.

He said the ministry would act on the suggestions made by the stakeholders today.

"We will together act on those inputs in the next two- three weeks and therefore we will also prepare a plan," he said adding most of the issues are related to the finance ministry and "we are going to take those issues with them".
People who participated in the meeting include leading exporters, EPCs, associations, industry chambers, spices board.

Minister for Textiles and Information and Broadcasting Smriti Zubin Irani also participated in the meeting.

Prabhu also stressed on the importance of export-led growth and called for enhancing competitiveness and integration with global value chain.

The deliberations flagged global and domestic challenges faced by exporters.

GST related issues regarding working capital blockage, delay in refunds and usability of Merchandise Exports from India Scheme and Service Exports from India Scheme scrips were raised by exporters.

In the context of mid-term review of the FTP, exporters requested inclusion of more products under these schemes and interest subsidy scheme and also increase in the rates of incentive.
The meeting also provided inputs for a new export strategy focusing on integrating India into the regional and global value chain, focus on high and medium technology sectors of exports and unleashing the potential of services such as tourism and e-commerce.

In a series of tweets, Prabhu said: "We must align our standards with global standards. Benchmarking will stimulate exports, ensure India's integration with global value chain".

"We are working on short, medium and long-term strategies. There can be short-term challenges but the future belongs to India," he added.

India's exports recorded a double-digit growth of 10.29 percent after a gap of three months to USD 23.81 billion in August, mainly on account of rise in shipments of chemicals, petroleum and engineering products.

Cumulative exports during April-August 2017-18 increased by 8.57 percent to USD 118.57 billion, while imports grew by 26.63 percent to USD 181.71 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 63.14 billion.

Oil export will increase jobs in US, India: Rick Perry

Washington, October 6: US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has said export of American crude oil to India will create jobs, economic stability and national security in both countries.
The first ever shipment of US crude oil landed in Odisha on October 2. The shipment, loaded at Saint James, Louisiana and Freeport, Texas terminals last month.

"This event represents the growing and important strategic energy partnership between the US and India, and I look forward to exploring new opportunities to expand the role of reliable, responsible, and efficient energy sources with our allies," Perry said yesterday.
He said the export of US crude oil to India will create jobs, economic stability and national security in both countries. Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, Indian companies ramped up purchases of American
To encourage US crude purchases, the government has allowed refiners to use a foreign rather than an Indian-owned vessel for the purchase. Indian refiners typically have to use domestic vessels for their crude imports. In a blog post yesterday, the US State Department said increased Indian purchases of US crude oil are a direct outcome of the June visit of Modi to the White House during which the leaders committed to expanding and elevating bilateral energy cooperation through a Strategic Energy Partnership.
"We expect this first shipment of crude oil will be followed by many more as both the Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum have placed orders for over 2 million barrels from the United States," said Tom Vajda, Office Director for the India Desk in the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department.

US crude oil shipments to India have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to USD 2 billion. "Not only does this week's shipment demonstrate the strength of the US-India bilateral relationship, but also how our relationship with India continues to benefit the American economy," Vajda said.
Buying US crude has become attractive for Indian refiners after the differential between Brent (the benchmark crude or marker crude that serves as a reference price for buyers in western world) and Dubai (which serves as a benchmark for countries in the east) has narrowed.
After production cuts by oil cartel OPEC drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, India, the world's third-largest oil importer, joins  South Korea, Japan and China to buy US crude oil.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

First US crude oil shipment arrives in India’s Paradip port

The first shipment of US crude oil in over four decades reached Indian shores on Monday, reaffirming the energy commitment between the two countries that includes importing American liquefied natural gas (LNG).

MT New Prosperity, a ship with a capacity to haul 2 million barrels of crude, left the US Gulf Coast on August 19 and arrived at Paradip port in Odisha.

The shipment is for the state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), which “will process the crude at its refineries located at Paradip, Haldia, Barauni and Bongaigaon,” the company said in a statement.
The Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) have also placed orders for about 3.95 million barrels of US crude for their Kochi and Vizag refineries.

Sunjay Sudhir, the oil ministry’s joint secretary (international cooperation), Katherine B Hadda, the US consul general in Hyderabad, senior officials of the foreign ministry and IOC were present at the welcome ceremony for the cargo.

Sudhir said crude oil import from the US by India’s largest refiner will go a long way in mitigating risks arising out of geo-political disruptions.

He said the new arrangement would usher in price stability and energy security for India, which is witnessing robust growth in demand for petroleum products.

“This is one of the first shipments to India since the US stopped oil exports in 1975, and follows recent commitments to US oil purchases by IOC and BPCL,” a US embassy statement said.
Besides, crude oil imports have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion.

Indian companies, both public and private, have also made a total investment of about US $5 billion in US shale gas assets. The first shipment of LNG is expected to reach India next January.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump expanding bilateral energy cooperation through a strategic energy partnership during the Indian leader’s June visit to Washington.

The arrival of the crude is hailed as “a significant milestone in the growing partnership” between the US and India.

“The US and India are elevating our cooperation in the field of energy, including plans for cleaner fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, and cutting-edge storage and energy efficiency technologies,” said MaryKay Carlson, chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in New Delhi.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Exporters meet FM; demand stimulus, steps to end GST woes

NEW DELHI: Exporters on Thursday met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, their second meeting with the government in less than two weeks, to press for stimulus and resolution of GST related problems to boost sluggish shipments that are one reason for slowing economy.
Expeditious refund of duties, deferment of filing of GST returns for six months and expansion of the ambit of the composition scheme were some of the issues which were raised by industry and exporters during the meeting here.
Exporters want resolution of problems arising from implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) also said that power there should not be any tax burden on export sales and for imparting competitiveness, taxes may be refunded through duty drawback."In absence of clear refund timelines, the new duty drawback rates notified on September 21 have added to the woes of exporting and thus effecting their order book position. It is suggested that the transition period of drawback may be extended beyond September 30 2017 till December 31," FIEO President Ganesh Gupta said."The minister gave a sympathetic hearing to our concerns and assured all possible help. He has taken all our points positively," he added.
The FIEO also pressed for exemption from GST for merchant exporters, immediate start of the refund process with exporters facing liquidity issues and allowing export benefit scrips for payment of IGST and CGST."Small exporters are particularly hit with GST as they have to borrow money to pay GST. Availability and the cost of credit is adversely impacting them," he said.
The industry representatives also brought up compliance matters on which the finance minister invited suggestions to improve the GST implementation.
Traders, particularly SMEs, are facing issues in filing returns, which is increasing their compliance burden.
Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said the sector is faced with a huge problem as exports are declining.They also demanded exemption from Integrated GST (IGST) on procurement of precious metals from nominated agencies for the purpose of manufacturing and export of jewellery."Small businesses are getting impacted more. Some have cut their productions also. We have raised the issue of compliance," Pandya said adding "We got a positive response from the minister. They would tabulate our demands and put before the GST Council".Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) Council Member Satwinder Singh said concerns related to reverse charge mechanism and refund were raised in the meeting.In a statement, CII has asked for special initiatives for promoting exports, including by addressing teething troubles for exporters under the GST regime.
"All import duties including IGST should be allowed to be debited under Advance Authorisation. Advance receipts for exports should be exempted from payment of IGST," it said.Assocham said that filing of GST return has become nightmare for the taxpayers.
"Therefore at least for six months filing of GST return should be deferred. Composition Scheme should be applicable for small service providers (turnover upto Rs 50 lakh)," it said.Representatives from KPMG, CII, Ficci, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Laghu Udyog Bharati, GST service providers, ICSI, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Amazon were present.
In their meeting with finance ministry officials on September 19, exporters asked the government to fast-track the refund process and avoid further deterioration in their liquidity situation.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chile : Nuts and dried fruit stand out for their export performance

Nuts stood out as one of the products that had a better performance in last season's exports. According to figures from the Office of Agricultural Policies and Studies (Odepa), under the Ministry of Agriculture, at the end of the period, its shipments abroad exceeded $ 723 million, an increase of 18%. Meanwhile, in terms of volume, shipments reached 169,151 tonnes, an increase of 21%.

Nuts were the star of this segment. Returns for this product in the 2016-2017 season, which ran from September last year to August this year, reached over US $ 420 million, an increase of 52% over the previous period, as revealed by Odepa figures. Chilean Walnut Commission executive director Andrés Rodríguez said: "Every five years, Chile is doubling its production. The country already has more than 44 thousand hectares planted with walnuts, which represent the second most relevant area, after table grapes. "He added: "The strategy of the industry is to keep growing, but with quality. Next year, I think we will beat the 100,000 ton barrier to be exported."

As for almonds, the figures reveal that the returns in the season that just concluded totaled more than US $45 million, a fall of 34% compared to the previous season. The commercial manager of almond producer and exporter Parmex, Cristián Manterola, said that Chile has competitive advantages in terms of climatic conditions for the production of almonds, especially in the area between Ovalle and Rancagua. In spite of this, the executive pointed out that there is no great incentive to plant there. "The cultivation is not easy, since it is a deciduous tree and its pollination is done by bees. In addition, in the best area to plant there is a scarcity of water and the availability of land is scarce, as it is being used for other types of crops, such as nuts and cherries, "he said.

Regardless of the above, Manterola stressed that for Chile it is "a stable business, since it is the dry fruit that has the highest consumption worldwide, due to the multiplicity of uses it has. For example, in the manufacture of chocolates."Unlike almonds, hazelnuts had a positive period. Their returns exceeded US $ 89 million, which translated into an increase of 8% compared to US $ 83 million for the period between September 2015 and August 2016. In this case, much of the local production is made by AgriChile, a subsidiary of the Italian Ferrero group, which, in turn, exports the product to make its chocolates with hazelnuts outside Chile.

The owner of Agrícola La Campana, Jaime Armengolli, said: "The business has become attractive for producers. So much so, that they are currently planting around 1,500 hectares of hazel per year. " The producer explained that AgriChile's business model has been successful because it has generated interest from farmers. "Ferrero's business was well thought out, because it has installed purchasing power in the country. The producer is interested in a company buying its hazelnuts and paying cash," said Armengolli.

As for prunes, returns of more than US $ 167 million were generated last season, a slight fall of 9% compared to US $ 183 million in the 2015-2016 production period.

Andrés Rodríguez, who is also director of Chile Prunes, said: "The plums industry is in a moment of stability. It has already had its period of growth, and today it has become a mature industry that has maintained its planted area levels (around 12 thousand hectares) and is stable in terms of production. He added that "a large growth is not expected in terms of volume in plums".

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

India imposes anti-dumping duty on import of Chinese truck and bus radials

The anti-dumping duty on Chinese-made TBRs will come as a shot in the arm for domestic tyre makers. Apollo Tyres reported a Rs 3,258 crore revenue, Rs 88 crore profit in Q1 FY2018.
India has imposed anti-dumping duty on the import of a certain type of radial tyres used in trucks and buses in a bid to protect domestic tyre manufacturers from below-cost shipments from China for five years.
The anti-dumping duty has been imposed in the range of US$ 245.35-452.33 per tonne, said a notification issued by the Central Board Excise and Customs (CBEC). The duty has been slapped on ‘new/unused pneumatic radial tyres with or without tubes and/or flap of rubber (including tubeless tyres) having nominal rim dia code above 16 (inch)’ used in buses and lorries/trucks.

The levy follows a recommendation for the same by the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD). Earlier, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association (ATMA) had filed an application on behalf of domestic tyre producers. It is understood that Apollo Tyres, J K Tyre Industries and Ceat had approached DGAD for investigations regarding dumping of tyres in India, as per a PTI report.

In its recommendation, the DGAD had said the domestic industry has suffered material injury on account of the imports from China. It found that the tyres have been exported to India from China ‘below normal value’.
The anti-dumping duty will come as a shot in the arm for domestic tyre manufacturers who have been under pressure from sales of lower-priced Chinese-made TBRs.
Last month, Onkar S Kanwar, chairman, Apollo Tyres, had said: "The recommendation by the Directorate General of Anti Dumping (DGAD) in India to impose anti-dumping duty on truck-bus radials from China has vindicated our stand on the same, and which, once implemented, would be a boost for us in India."

Countries impose anti-dumping duties to guard domestic industry from surge in below-cost imports. India has also imposed similar duties on import of several other products including steel, fabrics and chemicals from different countries including China. Anti-dumping measures are essentially taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry and are not a means to restrict import or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

China coal imports rise in November despite push against pollution

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese coal imports rose in November from the month before on firm demand during the winter heating season, even as Be...