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India's August crude steel production falls 2% on year

Singapore — India's crude steel production fell in August to 8.99 million mt, down 2.3% from 9.20 million mt a year ago, provisional data released late Friday by the Joint Plant Committee showed.

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Apparent steel consumption in August was 8.61 million mt, up 1.7% from 8.47 million mt the year before.

Hot metal production in August reached 6.10 million mt, relatively flat from 6.11 million mt the year before, while monthly finished steel output was 8.45 million mt, up 2.4% from 8.25 million mt in August 2018.

Nevertheless, with the August data summed up, India's crude steel production from April, which is the start of the financial year, until August was a total of 45.98 million mt, up 2% from 45.09 million mt a year ago.

During the five-month period, overall hot metal production was 31.19 million mt, up 2.9% year on year, while finished steel output hit 43.22 million mt, up 5.6% from the year before.

Steel consumption totaled 42.60 million mt over April to August, about 6.3% higher against the corresponding period of 2018.

On the trading front, India was a net exporter of finished steel products in August at 983,000 mt against imports of 856,000 mt. The former was up 37.3%, while the latter gained 27.5%.

Overall trade figures for April-August still put India as a net importer at 3.35 million mt versus exports at 2.45 million mt, JPC's data showed, up 0.8% and down 7.0%, respectively.

India's steel industry is facing a slowdown as demand from major downstream industries, such as the automobile sector, fall.

To help keep their inventories down, several automakers have implemented temporary production cuts. For instance, Maruti Suzuki India shut its Gurugram and Manesar plants on September 7 and September 9, its latest cuts since they began in February 2019.

State-run JPC is the sole body in India authorized to collect data on the domestic steel and iron industry.

-- Clement Choo, clement.choo@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Norazlina Jumaat, norazlina.jumaat@spglobal.com