Steel Imports Drop For Fourth Straight Month


India’s steel imports dropped for a fourth straight month in February, provisional government data showed, as duties and a floor price on steel products helped reduce overseas purchases hurting the sector.

The government imposed a 20 per cent safeguard import duty for 200 days on some steel products in September 2015 and last month set a floor price on imports to deter countries such as China from undercutting local mills, the first such move in more than 15 years.

India, the third-largest steel producer in the world, shipped in 912,000 tonnes of the alloy last month, 7.3 per cent lower than the corresponding month a year earlier, data from the Joint Plant Committee of the steel ministry showed.

However, imports rose 20.5 per cent in the 11 months to February compared with the same period last year, the data showed. Imports edged down 0.1 per cent compared to January.

Domestic steel makers including JSW Steel, Tata Steel and Kalyani Steels have lobbied the government for more protectionist measures as margins have taken a hit due to an onslaught of cheap imports from China, as well as Russia, Japan and South Korea.

Consumption of steel, in the only major market where steel demand is growing, rose 4.3 per cent between April 2015 and February 2016, largely driven by imports.

Steel exports by Asia’s third-largest economy fell 25.6 per cent at a time when the US has named India among countries that violated anti-dumping law on cold rolled flat products and slapped a tax.