Buoyed by a three-fold rise in exports in 2016-17 over the previous fiscal year, state-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is hoping to more than double its outward shipment to 1.6 million tonne.
Buoyed by a three-fold rise in exports in 2016-17 over the previous fiscal year, state-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is hoping to more than double its outward shipment to 1.6 million tonne (mt) in the current fiscal year, which would roughly comprise 10% of its total production. The company would target traditional markets such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka apart form South Korea and Malaysia and countries in the EU like Italy and Spain, among others. SAIL generally exports products like billets, plates, slabs, HR coils and stainless steel. It exported 7.2 lakh tonne steel in 2016-17.
“Though exports are not a compulsion for the company, presence in the export markets always help to broaden horizon and ensure higher margins,” said the company spokesperson. In the face of subdued demand growth in the domestic market, exports have been on the priority list of domestic steelmakers for quite sometime now, particularly at a time when the production is on the rise. With exports rising by 102% in 2016-17 at 8.2 mt over the previous fiscal year and imports falling by over 36% to 7.4 mt, India became a net exporter of steel in 2016-17 after a gap of three years. Indian steel mainly goes into Bangladesh, Italy, Nepal, Iran, UAE, US, Belgium, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Spain. India has been exporting between 3-5 mt steel during the last few years.
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India’s steel production was on the rise. With 11.3% growth in output in the last fiscal year, India recorded the highest production growth among major producing nations and if the trend continues, India might well end up becoming the second-largest steel producer in the world after China. “India needs to enhance its domestic consumption of steel as domestic consumption is not picking up at the expected rate. Indian companies would do well to focus on the African market. The government has, thankfully, taken a series of steps to boost demand,” said an analyst.
Union steel minister Birendra Singh has been asking Indian companies to gain more access to overseas market with value-added steel. Traditionally, India sends semis, bars & rods, structurals, railway materials and plates to export markets. Meanwhile, SAIL recorded 8% growth in sales in FY17 at 13.14 mt, its highest-ever. In March also, its sales registered the best-ever monthly figures at 1.57 mt.