Stainless steel production in India declined 19 per cent to 3.17 million tonnes (mt) last year against 3.93 mt in 2019, as per data released by the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association.
However, India retained its second spot as the world’s largest stainless steel producer despite the complete halt of production during pandemic-induced lockdown in the June quarter of 2020.
The stainless steel production and demand saw a ‘V-shaped’ recovery in India from July 2020 onward after the government began relaxing the lockdown.
Global stainless steel melt shop production decreased by 2.5 per cent to 51 mt last year, as per the latest data released by the Brussels-based International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).
China remained the leading producer accounting for over 50 per cent of the global stainless-steel production at 30 mt and the only country to record a production increase of 2.5 per cent last year. All other regions, including Europe, the US and Asia, saw a dip in production last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
KK Pahuja, President, ISSDA said as the economy is gradually regaining momentum, the government must look at sector-specific concerns to provide further policy stimulus.
“Revoking of countervailing duties on imports from Indonesia and China may impact the current growth of the sector in this calendar year and again lead to dumping of stainless steel,” he added.
ISSDA has urged the government to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to boost local manufacturing and curb imports in the country.
The association expects a glut of stainless steel imports when the domestic industry is struggling to cope with the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
With India being a lucrative market, the suspension of duties on imports from China and Indonesia are expected to cause aggressive dumping. For an industry with high import intensity, this could aggravate unemployment in the sector, particularly in the MSMEs, which constitute one-third of the capacity.