Saturday, April 26, 2014

Industry analysis: Global Steel Capacity; A problem of plenty

While the consumer gets a bargain during dumping, it shows stress signs at the producing country. Is China’s steel industry really under pressure or is it a one-time event? Let us try to understand the scenario which is playing out starting with understanding the installed capacity around the world.

Global steel capacity:

China produces half of the steel world consumes. When did it start to add so much capacity? 
Is there really demand for it? 
What are the utilization levels?

It all started in the last decade, capacity almost doubled in less than a decade. And most of the capacity was installed in China. See the chart below.

Since the demand for steel is 1.2 to 1.5 times of GDP growth, demand for steel slowed along with slower GDP growth. So utilization of at the steel mills of China too declined. (

Large scale dumping appears to be an attempt to clear off the inventory. But it can continue in a lesser scale, as China can always offer lesser prices than producers in many other countries for several reasons. If there is any uptick in global economy, it would stop. In case of global steel demand softening further, China's steel companies would follow the footsteps of its solar industry, go out of business, until demand-capacity finds an equilibrium.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag

This is the hunting tale of a man-eating leopard which had terrorized the villages bordering the river Alakananda for almost eight years. Records show it had killed 125 people (and many more killings did not get into record!) which makes him one of the biggest man-eaters humankind has ever witnessed. 3,000 plus gun license holders in the vicinity and many sportsmen failed to eliminate this leopard, and the serial killings went unchecked had put the colonial Govt. in bad light. This leopard got international fame through media and the devotee visiting holy shrines in the operating area of leopard carrying back the horror stories to their hometowns.

Invitation was sent to Jim Corbett (who needs no introduction). Leopard gave many misses to him too. A missed shot by Jim took off little hair from leopard’s neck but its man hunting continued. He killed a leopard in one of the attempts but found that it was not the man-eater. Series of attempts to hunt the man-eater failed which made Jim depressed but the villagers had an unwavering faith in him. They just believed leopard’s time has not come! While he prepared to pack-up, luck met him with the man-eater walking into the trap he had set as last attempt in a dark night giving him the opportunity he waited for ten weeks. Jim shoots with aim but immediately his torch goes off not letting him know the result of his shot in the pitch dark and moon not in sight. He waits till morning hours before getting down from the tree eagerly waiting to know the outcome, had he got the shot right and was it the man-eater. He feels relieved after identifying the dead body of man-eater and the whole village celebrates. Jim writes that gratitude showered on him was at its high on that day with all villagers thanking him for relieving their lives from fear.

Jim Corbett was born in Nainital and grew up in the Himalayan terrain which gave him the natural exposure to wilderness. His excellent observational skills, putting all senses – sight, hearing and smelling to work, making use of the knowledge he had developed of the way of the jungle, made him unparalleled hunter, gave him success where many had failed. He was also a noted naturalist and a wonderful writer, a powerful combination of talents which created a legend out of him.

Book Review: All roads lead to Ganga, Roads to Mussorie and Himalyan Tales

Author of these books Ruskin Bond is a writer who lives on the hills. Mountain streams, birds and animals, trees and flowers, the whole natural biosphere are his subjects of writing. His simple yet sensitive style makes his books easy and pleasurable read for young and adults and can charm those who rarely read too.

These books are collection of small tales on his experiences in Dehra Dun, Garhwal, Mussorie, along the river Mandakini, at the holy place of Tunganath, on the road to Badrinath etc. Even the ghosts find place in these stories, scare a little but entertain and make reader form a different set of viewpoints on the visits to these hills. 

Few stories reappear across these books which readers can skip and continue with the theme. You should buy these inexpensive books if you are falling short of stories to tell your kids or before you plan a travel to Himalayan terrains to deepen the experience one gets from traveling. If you are a bookworm you would have read him already but in case you have not, your personal library is incomplete without Bond, Ruskin Bond.