Millennium Post

Domestic slump makes India net steel exporter in April-Dec

If the trend strengthens during the January-March period, the country may end up being a net exporter of steel for the entire fiscal, 2013-14, after a gap of five years.

'India emerged as a net exporter of total finished steel in December 2013 as well as during the April-December period,' said Joint Plant Committee (JPC), a unit of Steel Ministry.

Exports went up by 9.5 per cent during the April-December period to 4.136 million tonne (MT), but imports in the same period registered 29.2 per cent decline at 4.09 MT. In December, exports rose by 13.7 per cent to 0.54 MT while imports nosedived by 46 per cent to 0.37 MT.

India has been a net importer of steel since 2007-08. In the last fiscal also, it imported 7.9 MT against its exports of 5.2 MT. Before 2007-08, however, India used to export more than imports.

The surge in exports during the April-December period is a result of rupee volatility, different economic conditions, impact of global downswing and depressed domestic demand, JPC said in its latest report.

It attributed the dip in imports to slowdown in domestic economy, exchange rate volatility, relative prices, global downswing and bilateral agreements among others. Almost all domestic producers have had a good growth on the export front in the current fiscal so far.

Steel Authority of India (SAIL) clocked a 122 per cent growth in exports to 1.77 lakh tonne during October-December quarter alone and it is eyeing doubling last year's volume to 7 lakh tonne this fiscal.

Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) recorded 142 per cent growth in its export revenue during the April-December period at Rs 519 crore.

Rising exports have also helped them raise domestic prices and reduce inventories. Steel makers have raised prices by up to Rs 1,500 per tonne earlier this month.

Impacted by economic slowdown, India's steel consumption grew by just 0.5 per cent to 53.789 MT during April-December period of the current fiscal.
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