India became a net importer of steel for the 1st time in the present fiscal in January, bucking the trend of the 1st nine months. The net trade deficit, nevertheless, was marginal at .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 stated in a note.

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During the present fiscal till January, export of completed steel from India was at 8.84 MT, up by 22.5%, when import at 3.79 MT have declined by 36.7% more than the corresponding period final year (CPLY).

During January 2021, export was decrease by 24.6% when import improved by 22.% more than January 2020. Month-on-month, export decreased by 15.23% and import improved by 13.66% as compared to December 2020.

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

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

The cumulative production of crude steel at 82.71 MT and completed steel at 76.04 MT had been decrease by (-)9.7% and (-)12.4% respectively more than the CPLY. The consumption throughout similar period at 74.58 MT was decrease by (-)12.7% more than CPLY.

After initial sharp drop in consumption and production throughout April-June 2020, there has been a sensible recovery in steel sector. Continuous improve in steel consumption/demand following gradual unlocking of the economy, rising price of iron ore, greater export and greater international rates of steel have, nevertheless led to improve in retail rates (Mumbai rates) of rebar, hot-rolled coil and cold-rolled coil by 2.60%, 2.22% and 1.76% respectively on M-o-M basis, it stated.

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