Raising local steel consumption is in the interest of all: Pradhan

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 20, 2020

Dharmendra Pradhan

Domestic steel demand picking up

Domestic steel companies have focussed and gained from exports during the Covid-19 lockdown. This was on the back of China’s exports slowing down as the Chinese steel demand grew in these months.

The demand growth in China gave an opportunity to Indian steel companies such as Jindal Steel and Power, and Tata Steel to export to South-East countries such as the Phillipines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

These insights emerged during a conversation between Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and the Managing Directors of Jindal Steel and Power Limited and Tata Steel as part of a webinar on Atmanirbhar Bharat: Fostering Steel Usage in Rural Economy-Agriculture.

Speaking at the webinar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), JSPL Managing Director, VR Sharma said, “Our average output in the last two months has outpaced recent years. We expect domestic growth to recover by March 2021.”

Responding to a comment from Pradhan on how sustainable is China-centric exports for the domestic industry, Sharma said, “Export to China has almost quelled now. But with Chinese consumption growing, South-East countries such as the Phillipines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Hong Kong turned to India for meeting their requirements.”

Domestic demand

“During April to July, all of us exported to China and South-East Asia, and were running full capacity. Now, the export has tapered because domestic demand has picked up. In the first quarter, for Tata Steel, 50 per cent output was exported. In the second quarter, exports stood at 25 per cent. We are looking at 10 to 15 per cent export in the third quarter, which is the business as usual scenario,” MD at Tata Steel, TV Narendran added.

In his address, Pradhan said, “The mission to ensure housing for all, investments in rural roads, railway infra augmentation and impetus to agriculture will create greater steel demand. Enhancing per-capita steel consumption is in the interest of all.”

Also speaking at the event, Minister of Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar, said, “There are opportunities available in rural sector covering rural infrastructure development projects, food processing, rural housing, food storage, agriculture equipment manufacturing to foster steel usage. Key government missions such as PM Awas Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission and MSP strengthening rural economy also involve greater steel usage.”

In an separate statement, JSPL said that it has successfully developed rails suitable for high speed and high axle load applications. Indian Railways has projected a requirement of 1.8 Lakh mtpa of this high-grade rails.

Published on October 20, 2020

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