Japan, South Korea tighten grip over Indian steel imports: Government data

Japan and South Korea strengthened their grip on the Indian steel market in April, supplying nearly three-fifths of the total imports, according to government data seen by Reuters

Reuters May 30, 2019 15:59:56 IST
Japan, South Korea tighten grip over Indian steel imports: Government data
  • India, the world’s second-biggest steel producer, relies on imports to meet the demand for high-grade steel required for automobiles and white goods

  • Japan and South Korea together supplied about 57 percent of India’s 630,000 tonnes of steel imports in April, compared with about 45 percent in the same month a year ago

  • Steel imports from Japan in April jumped 27 percent to 116,000 tonnes from the same month year ago, while Korean imports rose 15 percent to 245,000 tonnes, the data showed

New Delhi: Japan and South Korea strengthened their grip on the Indian steel market in April, supplying nearly three-fifths of the total imports, according to government data seen by Reuters.

The increasing inroads the foreign steelmakers are making will add to pressure on the Indian government to take protectionist measures to support local mills. Indian steelmakers have been lobbying New Delhi for such backing in recent weeks.

India, the world’s second-biggest steel producer, relies on imports to meet the demand for high-grade steel required for automobiles and white goods.

Japan and South Korea together supplied about 57 percent of India’s 630,000 tonnes of steel imports in April, compared with about 45 percent in the same month a year ago, the provisional data showed.

Free trade treaties with Japan and South Korea allow tax-free imports from the two nations, giving them an edge over others.

Japan South Korea tighten grip over Indian steel imports Government data

Representational image. Reuters.

Steel imports from Japan in April jumped 27 percent to 116,000 tonnes from the same month year ago, while Korean imports rose 15 percent to 245,000 tonnes, the data showed.

Overall, India’s steel imports fell 6.1 percent in April from a year earlier but the world’s second-biggest steel producer retained the net importer tag for the second month in a row as exports also slowed during the month, the data showed.

Major steel producers, such as Japan, South Korea and China are keen to capture growing demand hubs like India after being blocked from markets in the United States and Europe by tariffs and other protectionist measures.

India’s steel imports from China declined 29 percent to 88,000 tonnes in April but imports from Asian trading hub Singapore rose 77 percent to 23,000 tonnes, data showed. Industry sources said perhaps China, already locked in a trade war with the U.S., is shipping some of its steel to India through Singapore.

Government officials are already discussing injecting so-called safeguard measures to protect local steel mills from cheaper Chinese imports, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

“If this trend continues, millions of jobs will be lost. This will make operations unviable for domestic producers. A comprehensive assessment by the government is critical at this juncture,” said Abhyuday Jindal, managing director of Jindal Stainless, the country’s largest stainless steel producer.

India has also lost some of its global clients to cheaper steel exports from China, Japan and South Korea.

India’s steel exports declined 17.8 percent to 580,000 tonnes in April from a year earlier due to fewer shipments to its traditional markets of Belgium and Italy, the data showed.

India’s annual steel consumption in April increased by 6.4 percent to 7.5 million tonnes, the data showed. On a monthly basis, local demand for steel in April fell 21 percent from March, the steepest monthly drop in three years, indicating a slump in infrastructure and industrial activity.

India is yet to release its infrastructure and industrial output data for April.

Updated Date:

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