Why Are Metal Sector Stocks Rising in 2024? | Wright Videos

by Siddharth Singh Bhaisora

Published On April 15, 2024

In this article

Did you know that the Nifty Metal Index marked a 4% increase at the start of this FY? And more importantly, how does this trend reflect a surge in global commodity and metal prices? Welcome back Investors, today we're diving into exactly this hot topic and the critical role China's economic strategies play in this scenario.

Recently, we've witnessed a rally in metal stocks in India, with Vedanta Ltd. seeing its stock surge by up to 3.8%, Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) enjoying a 3.4% increase & Hindalco increasing by 2.5%. But, what role does global commodity and metal prices have to play in this? Let’s look at this in today’s video.

What is happening in the Metal Sector in India?

On one hand, domestic demand for finished steel has surged, reflecting the country's robust economic activities, particularly in the construction and automotive sectors. On the other hand, the industry faces the challenge of escalating imports, which have risen by a significant 38.1% to reach 8.3 million metric tons. This increase in imports has prompted domestic steel producers to seek governmental intervention to curb the influx, aiming to protect the local market from overseas competition.

  1. Despite the import concerns, India’s strong steel production is supported by robust demand in steel consumption within the country - which has jumped by 13.4 % to reach 136 million metric tonne during the year.

  2. Crude steel output reached 143.6 million metric tons, representing a 12.9 % increase year-on-year.

  3. Finished steel production mirrored this growth pattern, rising by 12.4 % to stand at 138.5 million metric tonne during the financial year.

  4. Further, India's finished steel exports also witnessed an increase, reaching 7.5 million metric tonne in 2023-24, reflecting an 11.5 % rise compared to the previous year.

  5. This week shares of iron ore companies experienced a significant uptick, buoyed by the mineral's price recovery. This rebound, marked by a 2.7% increase in futures to $107.10 a tonne in Singapore, follows a two-week slump where prices dipped by 9%.

Why are metal stocks doing well?

1. China & US Demand Picks Up

Recent manufacturing data from China and the United States, the globe's leading economies, signals a return to growth after a period of stagnation. This revival is crucial as these nations are significant consumers of base metals, leading to a surge in prices for aluminium, copper, and zinc.

2. Seasonal improvement in Demand from China

The revival in iron ore prices is timely, coinciding with the onset of April and May — months traditionally known for heightened building activities in China. This seasonal trend typically fuels a demand spike for steel, thereby boosting the need for iron ore.

3. Anticipated Federal Reserve Pivot

Historically, metal prices have shown an inverse relationship with interest rates. The anticipation of rate cuts, and consequently a potential weakening of the dollar, is factored into the current prices of base metals. A weaker dollar generally enhances the appeal of metals, thereby stoking demand.

4. Strong government push

Government-led infrastructure spending has maintained strong demand, particularly for steel, despite global economic uncertainties. Record production levels in 2023-24 for steel, aluminium, and zinc by domestic producers reflect this sturdy demand. The World Steel Association (WSA) projects an over 8% growth in steel demand in India for both 2024 and 2025, highlighting the sector's robust outlook.

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How have metal stocks performed so far?

April has seen the Nifty 50 index climb nearly 2%, while the Nifty Metal index has soared close to 9%, reaching an all-time high. Notably, Vedanta Ltd. saw its stock surge by up to 3.8%, while Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) enjoyed a 3.4% increase. Similarly, shares of Nalco and Hindalco both increased by 2.5%

Analyst expectations for metal stocks

Analysts are projecting that while quarter-on-quarter volumes are expected to improve, the year-on-year growth may exhibit a broader range, potentially fluctuating between a 6% decline and a 6% growth. There is a strong positive sentiment, particularly for base metal stocks. We looked at analyst reports to get a sense of their expectations -

  1. Hindalco stands at the top with an average score of 8 and a 'Buy' recommendation from 25 analysts. It shows the highest upside potential of 23.7%, an institutional stake of 43.4%. We expect to see margin expansion both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter.

  2. Jindal Steel And Power follows closely with a score of 9 and a 'Buy' rating from 24 analysts. The upside potential is at 21.3%, with institutional holdings at 20.2%.

  3. JSW Steel, also with a score of 9, diverges with a 'Hold' stance from 27 analysts. It presents an upside potential of 20.5%, an institutional stake of 16.5%.

  4. Tata Steel has a score of 7 with a 'Hold' recommendation from 27 analysts. It offers a 17.4% upside potential and holds a significant institutional stake of 30.8%.

  5. NALCO has a score of 7, receiving a 'Hold' from 9 analysts. The company has an upside potential of 16.0%, an institutional stake of 22.3%. We expect to see margin expansion both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter.

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Our take on metal sector stocks

Brokerages are bullish on the prospects of metal companies, citing their advantageous position to benefit from the strong commodities cycle. The overall outlook is cautiously optimistic.

As the global manufacturing sector rebounds and the U.S. moves towards a more accommodative monetary policy, the base metal market stands on the cusp of a potentially extended period of growth.

India’s steel sector also remains active in the global market. The metal sector's future will largely depend on how it balances the dual challenges of fostering domestic production and managing imports, all while capitalizing on the opportunities presented by the country's economic expansion. While domestic producers advocate for import restrictions, the government remains hesitant, likely due to the strong local demand and the positive contribution the sector makes to the country's economic growth.

This positive trend is expected to continue as we start FY25, with the government anticipating economic growth to surpass global levels in the upcoming fiscal year. Post elections, we can expect further strategic government spending on infrastructure.

Explore these articles & sector dashboard to understand the metal stocks in depth:

  1. Complete Guide On Investing In Metal Sector Stocks In India
  2. Top 10 Metal Stocks to Buy in India Today
  3. Metal Sector Dashboard to analyze the top metal stocks

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