Steel industry to grow on higher domestic demand, says CareEdge Research

Steel industry is expected to grow during the current fiscal with production increasing by 3-5% and the consumption rising by 9-10%, according to CareEdge report. CareEdge said that the steel production grew by 6.4% and consumption rose by 11.4% from April to October 2022, helped by government’s push for infrastructure projects, increasing activity in construction industry along with strong demand from automobile sector.

Further, geopolitical tensions, decline in iron ore prices and weak international demand would continue to moderate international steel prices, according to CareEdge report. Moreover, India is expected to witness a decline of about 50-55% in exports in FY23 due to the export duty on a range of finished steel products announced by the government in May 2022.

However, domestic prices are expected to remain moderate in the near term, as strong domestic demand would provide some relief due to subdued exports.

Domestic Production and Consumption

CareEdge Research estimates India’s steel production to be about 115-118 million tonnes, a growth rate of around 3-5% in FY23. The strong domestic demand outlook is likely to benefit manufacturers in the industry. India’s steel consumption stood at 106 million tonnes in FY22, up from 95 million tonnes in FY21, an increase of 11% YoY on account of higher demand from realty sector and various infrastructure projects.

During the first seven months of FY23 i.e. from April to October, the crude steel production and finished steel production had increased by 5.3% and 6.4% respectively on a y-o-y basis. The growth in finished steel production was 11% YoY on the back of favourable government policy and improved investments in the infrastructure sector. Going forward, CareEdge expects higher demand for steel products, helped by increasing activities in the construction sector and uptick in the real estate as well as automobile sector.

Moreover, with increased government spending towards seven engines – roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways and logistic, a rise in capex allocation by 36% y-o-y and various government initiatives are expected to support domestic steel demand.

Export Orders

India exported a record high of 13.5 million tonnes of steel in FY22, however, exports witnessed a reversal in trend during the first seven months of FY23. The development comes after an upward trend for three consecutive years since FY20.

However, steel exports declined sharply by 55% as compared to the same period in the previous year. Steel exports have plunged down to 4 million tonnes during first seven months of FY23 over 8.8 million tonnes in the same period of FY22, due to the imposition of export duty on a range of finished steel products.

Although, the exports were less attractive, it increased steel’s domestic availability as reflected in expansion of production and consumption volumes.