India’s stainless steel melt production growth slowed to 5pc from 7-8pc in the previous years due to a surge in imports from Asian countries, according to the industry body ISSDA. Production growth is expected to drop further because of the nationwide 40-day COVID-19 lockdown.
India produced 3.92mn mt stainless steel in 2019. Despite adequate capacity, domestic production was hampered by a 50pc surge in import of stainless steel flat products last year, according to the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA). India imported 776,806mt of stainless steel flat products last year, up by 68.5pc from the previous year.
Unregulated dumping and Free Trade Agreements signed by India with ASEAN countries have hurt the domestic industry, leading to a drop in capacity utilization which is currently at 60pc.
India’s consumption of stainless steel is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 8-9pc, however, 20-25pc of the domestic demand for flat products is supplied by imports. ISSDA urged the Indian government to impose restrictions on imports to support the domestic industry, as the lockdown is expected to reduce the stainless steel output further.
India remained the second-largest producer of stainless steel in 2019, after China which produced 29.4mn mt, which is 50pc of the global output of 52.5mn mt stainless steel. ISSDA also expressed concerns about the increasing output of Chinese-backed Indonesian mills, who have been exporting surplus output into India at lower prices.