During April-December of 2017-18, the export of finished steel increased 52.9 per cent to 7.606 MT, from 4.975 MT in the year-ago period, the Joint Plant Committee (JPC) has said in its latest report.
On the other hand, imports were down 26 per cent at 0.561 MT in December 2017 compared to 0.762 MT during the same month a year ago.
The import of finished steel during April-December last year surged 10.9 per cent to 6.096 MT, as against 5.495 MT in the same period previous year.
"India was a net exporter of total finished steel in December 2017 as also during April-December 2017," the report said.
India's consumption of finished steel in December 2017 rose 6.2 per cent to 7.621 MT compared to 7.175 MT in the year-ago period.
In April-August 2017, the consumption of finished steel witnessed a growth of 5.2 per cent to 64.867 MT as against 61.662 MT during the same period a year ago "under the influence of rising production for sale and imports," it said.
Not very happy with the export figures, Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh has said India should export six to seven per cent of its total steel production from the existing 1.5 per cent.
"There is no reason to be happy with 1.5 per cent of export. In the next few years, Indian steel exports should increase to 6-7 per cent of total production," Singh said at a session on Thursday.
Empowered by the Ministry of Steel, the JPC is the only institution in the country that collects data on the Indian iron and steel industry.
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