Steel Production in India Jumps Most in 14 Months on Output Push

  • Imports slump 55 percent in October on government curbs
  • Indian steel producers shares extend advances in Mumbai

Steel output in India grew the most in at least 14 months in October as mills ramped up production to meet expected demand from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to build out the nation’s infrastructure.

Production advanced 14 percent to 8.25 million metric tons last month from a year earlier, the biggest gain since at least August 2015, according to monthly data from the Steel Ministry. Imports slumped 55 percent to 538,000 tons and consumption slid 1.4 percent to 7.11 million tons, it said.

India is aiming to become the second-biggest producer of the alloy, and top mills such as JSW Steel Ltd. and Steel Authority of India Ltd. have targeted record output in the year through March amid expectations that government spending on infrastructure and power will enhance demand. A slowdown in imports, aided by curbs on flows from China and elsewhere, has also boosted product prices and margins for local producers.

JSW Steel posted a profit for the third straight quarter in June-September as India’s second-largest mill by output increased production to a record. Tata Steel Ltd., the third-biggest supplier domestically, reports second quarter earnings on Friday.

Exports surged 95 percent to 536,000 tons in October from a year earlier, according to the provisional data from the ministry, as overseas sales took up the slack from lagging domestic consumption. For the April-October period, production rose 10 percent to 57.5 million tons and consumption advanced 2.8 percent to 48.1 million tons, it said.

Imports over the seven months fell 40 percent to 4.14 million tons after the government imposed anti-dumping duties on many products and imposed a floor price on inbound purchases, countering a glut of steel on world markets emanating from China, the world’s top supplier, where output is exceeding domestic demand as growth slows.

Shares of steel companies extended gains after the data. Tata Steel rose as much as 2.6 percent in Mumbai while JSW Steel climbed as much as 1.6 percent and SAIL by as much as 2.5 percent.

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