India only nation among top 5 to see growth in steel production – ET Infra

MUMBAI: India is the only country, among the top five steel producing nations, to have seen a growth in production in April, with the others seeing production drop by as much as 7% during the month.

China, which is the world’s largest producer of steel, has seen its production in April fall more than 7% on year to 85.9 million tonne. Its production from January-April this year, at 343.7 million tonne, is 3% lower as compared to 2023, data from the World Steel Association showed.

India, which is the world’s second-largest producer of steel, saw production rise by 3.6% to 12.1 million tonne. The country has seen an 8.5% growth in production between Jan-Apr this year, having produced 49.5 million tonne of steel.

Japan, United States and Russia have seen their production of steel decline by 2-6% on year during the month. Excluding India, the four largest steel-producing nations have also seen a drop in their production numbers, compared to the last year, between the January-April period.

The data indicates that while the consumption of steel in India remained robust, the global demand for steel is yet to see a recovery.

“High interest rates and inflation have culled demand from steel-consuming sectors in the western world. In 2023, crude steel production growth was flat on-year. It is expected to be rangebound in 2024,” Sehul Bhatt, director for research at CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics told ET.

This has, in fact, weighed on the March quarter earnings of most steel-makers in India, whose selling prices were impacted because of high imports of steel into the country. India is reported to have imported 600,000 tonne of steel from China in the January-March period, up nearly 60% as compared to the previous year.

“Globally, steel prices are under pressure because of sluggish demand. This has also kept prices in India under check so far. While this is not a good tiding for steel mills, weak iron ore and coking coal prices since February are supportive for their profit margins,” Bhatt of CRISIL said.

The prices of hot-rolled coils of steel, used as a benchmark, were down nearly 10% year-on-year in the March quarter. Prices, have though, started seeing an uptick in the recent weeks, in line with the pricing trend in global markets.

  • Published On May 23, 2024 at 08:38 AM IST

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