NEW DELHI, Nov. 14 (Dow Jones) -- India's output of finished steel during the April-October period rose 8.7% from a year earlier to 40.68 million metric tons, provisional data from the steel ministry showed Monday.
Steel consumption during the first seven months of the fiscal year that started April 1 increased 2.9% to 39.58 million tons, the data showed. Imports fell 33.2% to 3.2 million tons, while exports grew 45.8% to 2.54 million tons.
Demand expansion was weak due to a slow pace of growth in the automobile, household appliances and construction sectors, which consume the bulk of steel produced in the country, a steel ministry official said.
India's local car sales fell the most in more than a decade in October as rising fuel costs, expensive loans and prolonged inflationary pressures continued to put the brakes on spending in Asia's third-largest auto market. Also, factory output in September grew at its slowest pace in two years.
India is the world's fourth-largest steel producer with an annual capacity of around 80 million tons of crude steel.