Chairman of Vedanta Resources plc Anil Agarwal expressed optimism in the future of the aluminium market in an interview published earlier this week.
Agarwal indicated that the country’s recent demonetization push, which has seen the government withdraw 86% of the country’s money supply by value, has presented a challenge to the company, but was not insurmountable.
“This is a very bold move,” he explained. “We have tried to simplify a lot, like we arranged for the meals of truckers whom we had to make payment to. There are two things, demonetization and the GST [goods and services tax], which will change this country. You know this is a vaccine; when you are given a vaccination, you have a bit of pain and you do not get fever and cold.”
Among the biggest changes Indian businesses and industries have to anticipate this year is the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, which is an indirect and comprehensive taxing regime, which will come into effect on April 1.
“Taxation will be simplified completely,” opined Agarwal. “And the biggest thing is it will start moving fast. Power companies are fully prepared. We have called in the best consultants from around the world and are fully prepared for GST. When GST is rolled out, we will be absolutely ready.”
Although Agarwal believes that the price of aluminium will rise by a respectable rate, he sees it happening despite dumping on the market by the People’s Republic of China.
“Prices in copper, aluminium, zinc, iron ore, oil & gas have recovered very well,” he said. “There is no new production in any other part of the world. In my opinion, the prices will go up by 10-15%, but I do not think that they will decrease. Price is very less in aluminium, you will not believe that 50% consumption of aluminium in India is being imported, and it is being imported because China is dumping, and people are dumping from all four sides, like steel. I am requesting the government to levy safeguard duty on aluminium so that the industry can be saved and it can grow further.”