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Steel imports jump 69% in April-May to 1.5 mt

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India’s jumped by 69 per cent to 1.52 million tonnes in the first two months of the fiscal due to firm demand from sectors like , and .

“Despite the slowdown in domestic conditions in some of the end-use markets, demand remained firm from sectors like motor vehicles, transport equipment, basic goods, consumer durables and manufacturing,” Joint Plant Committee () said in a recent note to the Steel Ministry.

India’s steel imports during the April-May period of the last fiscal were at 0.907 million tonnes.

The total imports in 2011 stood at 8.2 million tonnes. “Given the relatively slow growth in supply conditions, present import growth may well be due to the combined demand impetus provided by these sectors,” JPC, a steel ministry body which maintains non-partisan data-bank of the industry, said.

India’s production for sale of total finished steel grew by only 4.4 per cent during the period. Of the total imports during April-May this year, 1.329 million tonnes were of flat variety and the remaining are non-flat products.

Flat steels are used in consumer durables and fast moving consumer goods, while non-flat find application in construction space.

Attributing the jump in imports to the low base of the corresponding period last year as well, JPC said: “The present domestic demand-supply mismatch reverses this year-on-year situation and leads to a heightened year-on-year rate of growth in imports.”

“Price fluctuation is another critical factor influencing trends in imports with the relative strength in domestic prices vis-a-vis import prices, specially in an environment of fluctuating domestic currency,” it added.

China was the lead contributor comprising 30 per cent of the total imports during April-May followed by South Korea (19 per cent) and Japan (14 per cent). Ukraine and Belgium are the other two prominent contributors to the total steel imports figure for the period.

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