The government’s efforts to rein in rising imports coupled with protectionist measures across the globe against China may make India a net exporter of steel after a gap of two years. India has been a net importer of steel in all the last five years barring in 2013-14. The gap between imports and exports was on the rise in the last two years. It touched a record 7.7 MT in the last fiscal when India imported 11.7 MT steel while exports languished at a mere 4 MT.
Trends took a U-turn as the government tightened imports by putting a minimum import price (MIP) on various products in February and then levying anti-dumping and safeguard duties in its effort to protect the interest of the domestic industry, which was plagued by the rising imports and anemic demand.
So, India’s imports stood at 4.7 MT during the April-November period of the current fiscal, down by over 39% over the same period of the last fiscal. Exports, on the other hand, picked up to 4.2 MT registering a whopping 53% growth over April-November, 2015. Anemic domestic demand was also instrumental for steelmakers to look for the export markets where prices were stable than in the previous year.
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In 2014-15, India exported 5.6 MT and imported 9.3 MT. However, in 2013-14, exports were more at 6 MT while imports were at 5.5 MT. In the previous two fiscals also, imports were higher than exports. Industry sources said the China factor has helped India to export more products this fiscal.
Alleging exports at predatory prices, many countries have imposed strong trade barriers against China which came out as a blessings for Indian steelmakers. However, things could change if India’s steel demand rises keeping pace with the infrastructure development and domestic producers keep unabated the price rise.