Flat Steel Products Weighing Down India's Trade Balance

Continued from Part One.

This Business Standard report noted India may lose about US $10 billion worth of exports this year (from November 2012 figures).

India exported just about 15 million tons in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, less than half of almost 40 million tons in the same period last year, showing how severe the problem is.

The data, compiled by Joint Plant Committee (JPC), a unit under Steel Ministry, showed that flat steel accounted for 88 percent of the total imports at 5.76 million tons during the first nine months.

The import of non-flat steel stood at 0.8 million tons, up by 29 percent over the April-January period of the last fiscal year.

Flat steel is used in consumer durables and automobile sectors, while the non-flat variety is used in the construction sector.

India’s woes are proving to be China’s gains, once again, something which domestic steel majors have been saying must be stopped because much of it amounted to dumping.

The JPC data showed imports from China were the highest of the total imports, at 1.49 million tons, which was about 23 percent of the total imports, followed by South Korea at 1.3 million tons and Japan with 1.2 million.

Delegations of steel industry leaders have met Indian government officials with requests of rectifying the situation as fast as possible to correct the skewed trade relations, but the latter has maintained that its hands were tied because of the court cases that were on.

Industry analysts fear that things had already gone out of control and it would take years now for the imbalance in India’s steel business to be corrected.

Sohrab Darabshaw contributes an Indian perspective to MetalMiner.

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