India’s steel imports from China hit their highest level in five years in April

According to preliminary government data, India’s purchases of finished steel from China hit a five-year high in April and the country’s total imports of the alloy hit a four-year high.

In April, China became the second-largest steel exporter after India with shipments of 0.1 million tons, up 79 percent year-on-year. Imports from China accounted for nearly a quarter of India’s total finished steel imports in April.

India imported 0.5 million tonnes of finished steel in April – the highest since 2019 – up 38.2 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

China, the world’s largest steel producer, mainly exports cold-rolled sheet used in the automotive, home appliance and consumer durables industries. According to the data, India also imported electrical steel sheets and tubes from China.

In April, South Korea was the top finished steel exporter with shipments of 0.2 million tons, accounting for 32 percent of India’s total imports.

However, India, the world’s second-largest producer of crude steel, was a net exporter of finished steel in April, with 0.9 million tonnes sold to top buyers including Italy, Spain, Vietnam, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates, the data showed.

In April, India’s steel exports to Italy hit a six-year high.

Europe is a crucial market for Indian steel, and Indian steelmakers are concerned about European Union plans to impose a levy on imports of high-carbon goods from 2026, aimed at importing steel and some other commodities.

Domestically, India’s crude steel production was 10.7 million tonnes in April, up 3.2 percent year-on-year.

India’s steel consumption is expected to grow 7.5 percent in the current fiscal year to March 2024, driven by rising demand from the domestic construction, railway and capital goods sectors.

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