NEW DELHI India's steel imports dropped for a fourth straight month in February, provisional government data showed, as duties and a floor price on steel products helped reduce overseas purchases hurting the sector.
The Indian government imposed a 20 percent safeguard import duty for 200 days on some steel products in September 2015 and last month set a floor price on imports to deter countries such as China from undercutting local mills, the first such move in more than 15 years.
India, the third-largest steel producer in the world, shipped in 912,000 tonnes of the alloy last month, 7.3 percent lower than the corresponding month a year earlier, data from the Joint Plant Committee of the steel ministry showed.
However, imports rose 20.5 percent in the 11 months to February compared with the same period last year, the data showed. Imports edged down 0.1 percent compared to January. (bit.ly/1QAVumV)
Domestic steel makers including JSW Steel, Tata Steel and Kalyani Steels have lobbied the government for more protectionist measures as margins have taken a hit due to an onslaught of cheap imports from China, as well as Russia, Japan and South Korea.
Consumption of steel, in the only major market where steel demand is growing, rose 4.3 percent between April 2015 and February 2016, largely driven by imports.
Steel exports by Asia's third-largest economy fell 25.6 percent at a time when the U.S. has named India among countries that violated anti-dumping law on cold rolled flat products and slapped a tax.
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Anand Basu)
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