Steel Imports by India Slide for Third Month as Curbs Tightened

  • Government imposes minimum import price on shipments
  • Indian steel producers rally on new import restrictions

Indian steel imports fell for a third month in January as government curbs stemmed an inflow of the metal amid a global supply glut.

India has been tightening protections on imports since June and on Friday upped the ante by imposing a minimum import price on steel products. Although inbound shipments dropped 8.7 percent to 916,000 metric tons last month from a year earlier, according to provisional data from the Steel Ministry, for the 10 months through January, imports climbed 24 percent to 9.31 million tons.

Mills worldwide are contending with a global glut of the metal as China, the top supplier, exports its surplus in the face of contracting domestic demand. While China’s government has pledged capacity cuts and output has begun to shrink, its steel exports in 2015 still topped 100 million tons for the first time. The surplus has forced competitors from the European Union to India to impose restrictions on shipments.

India’s new measures will help its domestic steel industry recover lost market share and boost product prices, Citigroup Inc. said in a report. Shares of Tata Steel Ltd. and JSW Steel Ltd. climbed as much as 4.3 percent in Mumbai on Monday, while Steel Authority of India Ltd. advanced as much as 4.8 percent.

Steel output declined 1.7 percent to 7.95 million tons in January from a year earlier, while consumption climbed 2.8 percent to 6.98 million tons, according to the ministry. For the April-January period, production fell 1.8 percent to 75.66 million tons while demand rose 4.2 percent to 65.92 million tons.

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