• Monday, June 24, 2024


Indian steel makers worried as imports from China shoot up 58%

The trade remedial action process adopted by the director-general of trade remedies to follow lesser duty rules takes 12-18 months to work out the injury margin.

Representational Image: iStock

By: indiaweekly.biz Staff

INDIA’S steel manufacturers have sought quick remedial action over an alleged predatory dumping of the metal from other countries, as imports from China surged 58 per cent in the January-March quarter.

Import of steel from China in the abovementioned period was 0.6 million tonne (mt) from 0.38 mt in the same period of the previous fiscal. In the month of February alone, exports to India saw a leap of 24 per cent compared to January, BigMint data revealed, according to The Telegraph, India.

Overall, India imported 7.76 mt of steel in FY24 as compared to 5.4 mt in FY23, but imports from China alone rose to 1.72 mt in FY24 from 0.67 mt in FY23, the report added.

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Cumulative steel exports from China grew 28 per cent year-on-year to 26 mt in the first three months of 2024 calendar year and the trend is likely to persist in the second quarter of the year as well, The Telegraph report added.

A steel factory in China
An employee works on a steel pipe at a factory in Weifang, in China’s eastern Shandong province on January 31, 2024. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

According to industry analysts, the rise in Chinese exports to India and the rest of the world has happened due to its production surplus, which is almost equal to the amount of steel produced by the South Asian nation.

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The surge of imports from China and other countries is challenging domestic manufacturers as they face price pressure.

Prices of benchmark hot-rolled coils (ex-Mumbai) plummeted to Rs 52,800 a tonne in March this year from Rs 60,300 a tonne in March last year, showing a 12.4 per cent slump. The prices have recovered to Rs 54,200 a tonne in May, the report added. 

AMNS India, formerly called Essar Steel, which is the only integrated large steel manufacturer to report quarterly results so far, reported a five-quarter low EBITDA last week.

Blaming the growing imports from China for the lower EBITDA, Dilip Oommen, CEO of AMNS India, told The Telegraph, “AMNS India performed well despite pressure from external factors such as record imports and predatory pricing, notably from China, which led to price pressure in the domestic market.”

The Indian Steel Association (ISA) has sought trade remedial measures to address the situation. Its secretary-general Alok Sahay called dumping in India or exporting at subsidised prices by any country to India “a matter of grave concern”.

According to him, a regulatory framework supporting the domestic industry and long-term investment worth billions of dollars are needed if India has to increase its steel-production capacities. 

Industry insiders assert that the relentless surge of steel imports through predatory dumping continues unchecked, primarily due to the prolonged duration of trade remedial investigations.

These processes typically span over 12-18 months, involving the meticulous collection, collation, and analysis of import data alongside domestic industry costing information. Subsequently, experts scrutinize the dumped pricing dynamics, evaluating its impact and calculating injury margins, contributing to the delay in addressing the issue effectively.

The steel industry has been pleading for removal of the lesser duty rule with the federal government for quick remedial actions, the report added.

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