By Anil Mathews
NEW DELHI (Scrap Monster): The steel imports by the country declined significantly during the first six months of the current fiscal, in accordance with data released by the Indian Steel Ministry’s Joint Plant Committee (JPC).
According to data, the country’s steel imports totaled 3.60 million tonnes during the six-month period from April to September 2016, which constitutes the first half of the current fiscal year FY ’17. The imports were down sharply by 37% when matched with the imports during the corresponding six-month period in 2015. The steel imports by the country had totaled nearly 5.7 million tonnes during April to September in 2015. The country remained a net importer of finished steel during Apr-Sep ’16. During the month of September alone, India remained net exporter. The exports surged significantly higher by over 110% during the month to total 0.66 million tonnes in September this year, in comparison with the same month a year before.
The key exporters of steel to India during the six-month period were China, South Korea and Japan. The three countries together accounted for almost three-fourths of the total steel imports by the country during this period. The largest exporter of steel to India was China. The steel imports from China totaled 1.08 million tonnes, accounting for 30% of the Indian imports. In second place was South Korea with 1.02 million tonnes, followed by Japan with exports of 0.56 million tonnes of steel to India.
The JPC data further indicates that imports declined further in the month of October this year. The imports during October this year totaled 0.54 million tonnes, falling by 12.4% compared to September 2016. When compared with the year before, the October ’16 imports were down sharply by nearly 55%. Also, cumulative imports during Apr-Oct ’16 were down sharply by 40% year-on-year to 4.14 million tonnes.
According to JPC, the steel demand in the country registered second consecutive month of decline in October. The consumption of steel dropped marginally by 0.5% to 7.11 million tonnes in October, when compared with September 2016. When matched with the demand during October 2015, the steel demand during October 2016 is down considerably by 1.4%. The country’s steel consumption had totaled 6.73 million tonnes in September this year, falling sharply by 7.7% from the month before.
The country’s steel industry has so far bucked the global trend of slowdown in steel production. The latest data released by the World Steel Association shows that India produced 8.267 Million tonnes of crude steel during the month of October this year, significantly higher by 12.3% when compared with 7.359 Million tonnes production achieved during October last year. However, the consecutive drop in demand for steel is a big concern, noted industry experts. The industry is in anticipation of more favorable announcements from the government towards increased infrastructure spending.
Meantime, the government clarified that necessary trade protection measures will be announced to lend support to the country’s domestic steel industry. Earlier in November, the Indian government had imposed anti-dumping duty on imports of steel wire rods of alloy or non-alloy steel from China for a period of six months, in a bid to protect domestic steel wire rod manufacturers. The action followed observation by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) that the domestic industry had suffered material injury due to export of such goods by China at ‘below the normal value’.