Overtaking imports, India's steel exports jumped by 102.1 per cent in 2016-17 to 8.24 million tonnes (mt), as compared to 4.07 mt shipped out in the previous financial year (2015-16), according to a Steel Ministry's report.
"Export of total finished steel was up by 102.1 per cent in April-March 2016-17 at 8.24 mt over same period of last year. Export in March 2017 at 1.62 mt was up by 363 per cent over March 2016 and grew by 114 per cent over February 2017," said the report of Joint Plant Committee.
"Since domestic consumption is not picking up well, steel producers have been given thrust on exports. Such trend is expected in 2017-18 because of brown-field expansion of steel in India. Steel producers, including SAIL, have been drawing up big plans for exports," Institute for Steel Development and Growth's Director General Sushim Banerjee told IANS on Wednesday.
India has become a net exporter of steel in 2016-17 as imports fell gradually.
According to provisional data, imports of total finished steel stood at 7.42 mt in 2016-17, declining by 36.6 per cent from 11.71 mt of imports in 2015-16. Imports in the last month at 0.8 mt were down by 19.7 per cent over the corresponding month of previous fiscal, but up by 51.8 per cent over February 2017.
According to the report, India's consumption of total finished steel at 83.93 mt saw a growth of three per cent in 2016-17 as against 81.52 mt in 2015-16.
Consumption in March only at 7.98 mt was up by 2.2 per cent over corresponding month last year but increased by 13.4 percent over February, 2017.
"Unless investments come in the infrastructure projects, domestic consumption will not rise sharply. In fact, steel intensity to GDP has come down," Banerjee said.
Production for sale of total finished steel at 101.27 mt registered a growth of 11.3 per cent during 2016-17, compared to 90.98 mt in the previous fiscal. In fact, crude steel production grew by 8.5 per cent in 2016-17.
Overall finished steel production for sale was at 9.75 mt in March, 2017, up by 17.4 per cent over year-ago month and grew by 14.6 per cent over February 2017, the report added.