Steelmakers eye exports as domestic demand dips

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Steelmakers are exploring the world market following a dip in domestic demand. According to the Joint Plant Committee (JPC) data, steel exports in the first quarter ended June 30, jumped 71.8 per cent, at 1.074 million tonnes, against a mere 0.62 million tonnes during the same period last year.

Rising output, however, managed to curtail imports, which fell by 52 per cent in the period under consideration. However, India still remains the net importer at 1.32 million tonnes at the end of the first quarter.

During the 17th Annual General Meeting on July 25, Sajjan Jindal, vice chairman and managing director of JSW Steel had said the company was planning to increase its exports by 15-20 per cent this fiscal. After the global economic crisis in 2008-09, JSW Steel had decided to focus on domestic steel demand and grow its business on the back of its retail chains and rural steel demand. The company had brought down its exports to 13 per cent of its total production. 

Tata Steel, despite the surge in domestic demand, is looking at increasing exports. The company said: “In view of the robust domestic demand during the year, the opportunity for exports has been limited for flat and long products. However, there is a growth of 76 per cent in wires and 43 per cent in FAM business over the last year.”

Tata Steel, in its 104th Annual Report, said the company had developed high-strength galvanised steel for customers in Europe and West Asia, established a market for shipbuilding grade with customers in Bangladesh, obtained new approvals for supplying steel for skin panels and internal components from a leading automotive customer in South East Asia and made trial shipments of its galvanised steel brand ‘Galvano’ in the South African market.

The company had further said it had expanded its market in the European Union and entered new markets such as Saudi Arabia and Australia. 

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