November 8, 2018 / 6:38 PM / 5 days ago

Brazil steelmaker CSN plans 27.5 pct price hike for automakers

SAO PAULO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) said on Thursday it is negotiating a 27.5 percent price hike next year for steel for domestic automakers.

The move marks the second time a Brazilian steel producer has tried to flex its muscle with the auto industry, which is recovering from a deep recession while the steel industry is seeing a boom due to higher international prices.

Last month, Usiminas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA said it was seeking to raise prices for steel for autos by more than 20 percent.

CSN last hiked prices for the auto industry in 2017, by 22 percent, said Luis Fernando Martinez, CSN’s commercial director, in a conference call with analysts.

CSN did not disclose which automakers it was negotiating with, but the company is a significant provider for the Brazilian unit of General Motors Co.

Brazil, until the recent downturn, was one of the top five auto-producing countries globally, but it is still by far the top producer in the region and hosts factories for most of the world’s largest car companies.

The industry has seen a recent spike, with October marking its best month for both production and sales since 2014 despite an export slump due to a recession in neighboring Argentina.

Industry group Anfavea has said Brazil’s auto market will expand 13.7 percent in 2018 and expects double-digit growth in 2019.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Congress approved a long-awaited incentive plan for automakers known as Rota 2030, which will give tax breaks for factories in the Northeast region as well as for developing cars powered by ethanol, drawn by Brazil’s strong sugar cane production. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr. Editing by James Dalgleish)

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