India’s steel sector posted a robust 11% growth in production in 2016-17 at 101.2 MT even as domestic consumption remained anaemic mainly due to poor offtake from the end-use segments like construction, automobiles and white goods sectors. SAIL, RINL, Tata Steel, Essar, JSWL & JSPL together produced 57.5 MT during April-March 2016-17, which was a growth of 18.5% compared to same period last year; while production for other producers was down by 1.2%, according to Joint Plant Committee (JPC), a unit under the steel ministry.
JPC data showed that exports more than doubled during the year to 8.24 MT during the year from 4.07 MT a year ago. Imports, on the other hand, have declined by 37% to 7.42 MT during the year, making India a net exporter of steel.
Analysts said while governments’ series of measures to rein in imports have yielded results; exports were more than a compulsion for the domestic industry to substitute subdued demand within.
Starting from April, 2015, India has taken a slew of measures to counter predatory imports including raising import duty, imposition of minimum import price (MIP), anti-dumping duty and safeguard duty.
Rating agency ICRA recently said that even as India’s steel consumption growth remained weak in the current fiscal due to continued weakness in the key end-user industries, “2017-18 points to a favourable demand outlook for the steel sector in the medium-term,” ICRA said.
Industry is hopeful that the government’s proposed 3.96 lakh crore investments, budgeted for the current fiscal, in the infrastructure sector would result in substantial increase in steel consumption.