For a large portion of 2012 – between April and November, to be exact – the Indian steel sector was growing at a phenomenal rate as compared to the rest of the world, propelling the country to the ‘No. 1 global Steel Producing Country’ slot in terms of growth.
At 5.4 percent, the sector grew at five times the world average rate of 0.97 percent.
Though everybody had an idea that India’s steel sector, besides China’s, had by and large remained unaffected by the global recession, the fact that India was the fastest growing steel producing nation seems to have caught even government officials here, too, by surprise.
A delighted Beni Prasad Verma, India’s minister of steel, while making the announcement, was quoted by The Economic Times as saying it was his dream that India should become the second largest steel producer, up from the country’s present No. 4 position, in the next few years.
According to Indian government figures released to the media, India had produced 51.5 million metric tons of steel in the April-November 2012 period as against 48.9 million tons during the same period in the previous year.
Its archrival and neighbour, China, stood in third place during the period with a growth rate of 3.4 percent. China recorded an output of nearly 477 million tons during the period compared to 461 million tons a year ago.
A surprise member at the second spot was Turkey. The statement said Turkey achieved second place with a 4 percent growth rate during the period by recording an output of 24 million tons.
MetalMiner had already reported back in November that a Frost & Sullivan report forecast that India would become the No. 2 steel producer in the world by 2015.
So how can we contextualize these figures?
Coincidentally, CARE Ratings, a research and risk forecast agency, came out with a report on the steel industry and within the report lie some of the reasons for India’s growth in steel production.
The research firm said when the global steel industry in Europe and other regions was reeling under the recessionary effects, demand for steel production in China and India had remained mostly unaffected, mainly on account of their domestic demand.
Sohrab Darabshaw contributes an Indian perspective to MetalMiner.