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Steel exports up 160% as China, SE Asia buy more

Ishita Ayan Dutt in Kolkata | July 04, 2003 11:48 IST

Steel exports have surged over the last year. A study of the five major producers -- Steel Authority of India Ltd, Tata Steel, Essar Steel, Jindal Vijaynagar Steel Ltd and Ispat Industries show that exports have increased by more than 160 per cent in value and 99 per cent in volume, at the end of 2002-03 over 2001-02.

The combined tonnage of exports was at 30.11 lakh (3 million) tonne in 2002-03 as compared to 15.16 lakh (1.5 million) tonne in the previous year. The value of exports was at a whopping Rs 4,015.88 crore (Rs 40.16 billion) vis-a-vis Rs 1,543.85 crore (Rs 15.44 billion) 01-02.

SAIL emerged as the topper among the five with a 814,000 tonne exports at Rs 1,019 crore (Rs 10.19 billion). Tata Steel however, scored on price realisation. The company exported 652,000 tonne garnering Rs 1,013 crore (Rs 10.13 billion).

Industry sources said that the total exports for 2002-03 was 3.7 million tonne, an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year.

China alone accounted for around 1 million tonne. GP/GC exports saw the maximum growth, registering an increase of 85 per cent.

While China pulled bulk of the demand, the other countries, which lapped up Indian steel were Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia.

US also saw some exports with the antidumping duty on plates coming down and GP/GC being out of the tariff barrier.

GP/GC exports were high due to imposition of safeguard measures by the US. The measures closed the US market for its traditional exporters such as EU, Japan and Korea. India, by virtue of its being a developing nation, was exempted from the safeguard measures.

Analysts tracking the sector said that it was a year where exports dominated the increase in production.

The increase in production, estimated to be around 1.3 million tonne, was largely on account of higher exports.

According to reports, the domestic demand to capacity ratio of the Indian steel industry was still very low at around 70 per cent and any decline in exports in future would put pressure on prices.

However, it was expected that the total steel demand from India would grow at 8-10 per cent in 2003-04 ad 2004-05 and the oversupply would turn to deficit by 2006-07.

The increase in exports also had a positive impact on prices. Prices increased throughout the year and volumes soared as a result of demand from China.

Rising prices in the US reduced the supply from Russia and consolidation in European Union and Japan also helped maintain the global demand-supply equilibrium.

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