India’s steel trade dynamics undeIndia’s steel trade dynamics underwent a significant transformation in the fiscal year ending March 2024. The country transitioned into a net importer of finished steel, with imports surging by 38.2% year-on-year to reach 8.32 million tonnes. This stands in contrast to exports, which grew at a more modest pace of 11.5% to 7.487 million tonnes (data from Joint Plant Committee).
This shift highlights a complex interplay between domestic production, consumption, and international trade. Despite calls from domestic steel producers for government intervention to curb imports, the robust domestic demand for steel (up 13.6% to 136.25 million tonnes) likely influenced the ministry’s decision against imposing import duties. This strong demand also fueled a 12.7% year-on-year increase in domestic finished steel production to 138.825 million tonnes.
Leading steel companies like SAIL, RINL, Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, JSW Group, and Jindal Steel & Power played a significant role in this domestic production growth. Collectively, they contributed 56% of the total finished steel production (77.345 million tonnes) in FY24. Notably, the private sector continued its dominance, accounting for 85% of the total output, further highlighting its growing influence within the Indian steel industry.
China emerged as the primary source of India’s finished steel imports, supplying a substantial 32% of the total. This statistic underscores the complex and interconnected trade relationship between the two countries in the steel sector.