India doubles steel export, China major buyer

India’s export of finished steel grew over two-fold between April and July this year, while import of such products reduced by about 42%.

According to the latest Joint Plant Committee (JPC) report, between April and July, the country’s total export of finished steel stood at 4.64 million tonnes (MT), as against 1.93 MT in the same period a year ago. JPC, under the Union Ministry of Steel, collects and maintains data on the Indian steel and iron sector.

Out of the total 4.64 million tonnes of export, Vietnam and China bought 1.37 million tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes of steel, respectively. Sources said that though Vietnam has been buying Indian steel regularly, the fact that Chinese companies imported Indian steel in a big way despite growing tensions between the two countries has come as a surprise to many.

According to the JPC data, the country reduced its imports by 42% to 1.50 MT during the period under review from 2.59 MT a year ago. “Import of total finished steel from China declined by 21.7% during this period,” the JPC report said.

The production of finished steel fell 39.8% to 21.15 MT from 35.15 MT in April-July of 2019, the data showed. Steel consumption also fell 43.3% to 18.909 MT as against 33.34 MT in the same period of the last fiscal.

Overall, globally, the situation in the steel sector remained strained due to the Covid-19 pandemic. World crude steel production for the 64 countries under the World Steel Association stood at 152.7 MT in July 2020, a 2.5% decrease compared to July 2019.

China produced 93.4 MT of crude steel in July, an increase of 9.1% compared to July 2019. India produced 7.15 MT of crude steel in the same month compared to 9.48 MT in July 2019. Japan, on the other hand, produced 6.0 MT of crude steel in July, down 27.9% in July 2019. South Korea’s steel production was 5.5 MT, down by 8.3% in July 2019.

According to the report, Germany produced 2.4 MT of crude steel in July 2020, down 24.7% in July 2019. Production in the European Union overall is estimated to be 9.8 MT of crude steel in July 2020, down by 24.4% in July 2019. The United States produced 5.2 MT of crude steel in this month, a decrease of 29.4% compared to July 2019.

As reported earlier, India earned the distinction of becoming the world’s second largest steel producer, for the second consecutive year, in 2019, as per the WSA report. As per report, in 2019, the world crude steel production reached 1869.9 MT and showed a growth of 3.4% over 2018. China remained the world’s largest crude steel producer in 2019 with 996.3 MT, followed by India (111.2 MT), Japan (99.3 MT) and USA (86.9 MT).