March 16, 2016 / 12:23 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-ArcelorMittal South Africa to increase steel prices next month

(Adds detail, background)

JOHANNESBURG, March 16 (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal South Africa will increase the prices of its steel products from April as it tries to stabilise the business amid rising input costs and after heavy losses due to competition from cheap imports, it said on Wednesday.

“The global economic developments and the sustainability of the steel industry are among the factors which led the company to increase prices following its monthly price review,” the steelmaker said in a statement.

The company, majority-owned by ArcelorMittal, said it would increase the prices of hot rolled coil by 8 percent on average and plate by 11 percent, among other products.

South Africa last year slapped a 10 percent tariff on imported steel and ArcelorMittal, which had been hurt by cheap steel from China, said in January the government was increasing duties further.

ArcelorMittal South Africa is focused on the local steel market, where it is still the largest player.

The company, which is reviewing its loss-making Saldanha plant near Cape Town, said a 20 percent jump in iron ore prices over the last month and a further hike in South Africa’s electricity costs this year influenced its decision.

“The challenges faced by ArcelorMittal South Africa and the local steel industry are still persisting, and they are putting the company and the steel sector in a difficult position,” it said. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Writing by TJ Strydom; Editing by Mark Potter)

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