Steel imports climb over 50 per cent in April, exports fall

8 May 2015

India's steel imports jumped 51.6 per cent to 0.76 million tonnes (MT) last month compared with the year-ago period, government data showed.

However, on a sequential basis, the imports declined 9.4 per cent from March this year, the Joint Plant Committee (JPC), a unit of the Steel Ministry, said in a report.

"Import of total finished steel, at 0.761 MT in April 2015, saw a growth of 51.6 per cent over April 2014 and decline by 9.4 per cent over March 2015," the report said.

"Domestic steel industry is going through tough times, mainly due to a decline in demand in China, the world's largest steel producer. Importing steel from China was cheaper than producing it here and this led to imports, especially in the second half of 2014," a steel company executive reasoned.

But since the first quarter (January-March), imports have been in decline, an assuring sign for the domestic steel industry, he added.

According to JPC data, steel imports grew 71 per cent to 9.321 MT in 2014-15, with India remaining a net importer in the previous fiscal.

Imports in March 2015 rose 91.8 per cent to 0.84 MT, but down 14.8 per cent compared with February 2015, the data showed.

According to JPC, India's consumption of total finished steel registered an annual growth of 7.1 per cent in April at 5.5 MT, but declined 23.2 per cent over March 2015.

Steel exports in April, at 0.38 MT, slumped 15.2 per cent year-on-year. Quarter-on-quarter, too, exports came down 24.9 per cent.

In April, crude steel production stood at 7.392 MT, up 1.5 per cent year-on-year. But compared with March, the overall production turned lower by 4.1 per cent last month.