India Nears No. 2 Spot as Steel Producer on Record Output

  • Exports climb to all-time high, while imports slump on curbs
  • India may topple Japan as second-biggest supplier by 2019

India, set to become the world’s largest steel producer after China, churned out a record amount in the year through March to feed rising local demand, while boosting exports to the highest ever.

Output jumped 11 percent to 101.3 million metric tons and the nation was a net exporter for the first time in three years, doubling shipments to 8.2 million tons, according to provisional steel ministry data.

India’s on course to overtake Japan as the second-biggest producer by 2019, according to the Australian government, as mills increase output to meet growing demand for infrastructure, homes and consumer goods. The nation’s top suppliers -- JSW Steel Ltd., Steel Authority of India Ltd. and Tata Steel Ltd. -- all chalked up record production last year.

The country’s output will rise from 103 million tons this year to 110 million in 2018, and 118 million by 2019, according to projections from Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The growth will see India draw level with Japan next year and eclipse it after that, it said. By 2022, India will pump out 146 million tons to Japan’s 118 million.

Domestic demand grew 3 percent to 83.9 million tons in the past 12 months, ministry data showed, less than expected, and mills exported the excess to benefit from a rebound in global product prices. Imports plunged 37 percent to 7.4 million tons after the government implemented a range of measures to halt a flood of cheap shipments.

Shares of JSW Steel have climbed 24 percent this year in Mumbai, while SAIL is up by 35 percent and Tata Steel by 27 percent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index has gained 11 percent.

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