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India becomes net importer of steel in January

India became a net importer of steel for the first time in the current fiscal in January, bucking the trend of the first nine months. The net trade deficit, however, was marginal at 0.06 MT.

“India was net exporter of finished steel during April-January 2020-21 with net trade surplus of 5.0 MT. However, the progressive unlocking of the economy and improving economic activities leading to better domestic demand have resulted in decline/moderation in export and increase in imports in recent months with import exceeding export for the first time during this fiscal in January 2021,” the steel ministry said in a note.

During the current fiscal till January, export of finished steel from India was at 8.84 MT, up by 22.5%, while import at 3.79 MT have declined by 36.7% over the corresponding period last year (CPLY).

During January 2021, export was lower by 24.6% while import increased by 22.0% over January 2020. Month-on-month, export decreased by 15.23% and import increased by 13.66% as compared to December 2020.

Share of Germany, Austria, France, and Taiwan in total imports of steel to India increased in January 2021 as compared to January 2020, while it declined for Korea, China and Japan over the period.

During the April-January period of the current fiscal, production and consumption of steel was adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown necessitated to contain its spread.

The cumulative production of crude steel at 82.71 MT and finished steel at 76.04 MT were lower by (-)9.7% and (-)12.4% respectively over the CPLY. The consumption during same period at 74.58 MT was lower by (-)12.7% over CPLY.

After initial sharp drop in consumption and production during April-June 2020, there has been a smart recovery in steel sector. Continuous increase in steel consumption/demand after gradual unlocking of the economy, increasing cost of iron ore, higher export and higher international prices of steel have, however led to increase in retail prices (Mumbai prices) of rebar, hot-rolled coil and cold-rolled coil by 2.60%, 2.22% and 1.76% respectively on M-o-M basis, it said.
Source: Financial Express

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