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UPSTREAM steel players, who are among the country’s top energy users could be affected by a potential hike in the new electricity tariff surcharge, amid the current high coal and gas prices.
The announcement on the next electricity surcharge bi-annual review for the second half of 2022, is slated by the end of this month.
For most steel millers, energy and raw material costs account for almost 90% of their total cost structure.
Back in 2018, a 1.2 sen increase in the electricity tariff could raise the iron and steel industry’s costs by RM148mil, based on its annual electricity cost in that year, according to the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation.
Hence, to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of the steel industry at the local and international levels, the government must continue to provide a conducive environment for domestic steel players to operate.
For example, the recent announcement on the Mass Rapid Transit 3 circle line by the government is expected to spur construction activities.
This will lead to higher domestic demand for steel, which is projected to sustain the industry’s steady recovery.
At the same time, the International Trade and Industry Ministry is undertaking a foresight study on the iron and steel industry to assist in identifying future risks and opportunities.,
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This includes several recommendations towards a self-sufficient, sustainable, competitive and resilient steel industry by 2030.
Despite the current stiff challenges amid the global economic recovery and inflationary pressures, it is worth to note that some steel players are still able to export their products abroad.
Based on the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp’s latest data, the trade value of the iron and steel products rose by 23.5% to RM29.4bil from January to May compared with the previous year.
For May, exports were up 12.6% to RM6bil from the same month in 2021 with the top export destinations like Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
This reflects the big contribution of the local steel sector to the country’s economy and why it is still important to ensure the sustainability of this RM40bil industry.
The normal pain
WHEN Bank Negara raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 2.25%, there was once again a chorus of complaints from people who said higher interest rates would cut into their spending power.
It will for sure.
Higher interest rates will mean people having to pay more on the floating loan rates they have taken.