Improved economic activity to support demand for steel, cement & chemicals in India: Fitch


Chennai, July 5 : Fitch Ratings forecast strong medium-term growth to support the demand for India's steel, cement and chemicals sectors, with improved economic activity boosting power and petroleum product sales. The credit rating agency also said the adequate balance sheet buffers and strengthening demand should mitigate pricing and cost pressure at most rated Indian corporates. According to Fitch, the steel prices in the medium-term are likely to moderate due to the industry's demand and supply dynamics, while cement prices will be pressured by added capacity from large manufacturers over the next few years. As regards the near-term fuel prices, Fitch said it will be a function of the government's efforts to balance fiscal needs, inflationary pressure and the financial health of oil marketing companies. Rising energy prices are likely to pressure the margins of steel manufacturers, auto suppliers, cement producers, chemicals manufacturers and oil marketing companies, despite government intervention to manage surging inflation, the rating agency said. Meanwhile, the information technology services, telecom and pharmaceutical sectors face moderate wage and input cost risks, balanced by high utilisation rates and a better ability than industrial sectors to pass on higher costs to end consumers. A generally supportive regulatory framework limits exposure to cost inflation for electricity generation companies and network utilities, while strong oil and gas prices will widen margins at upstream companies. /IANS


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