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AN OVERVIEW OF STEEL SECTOR

Global Scenario

  • In CY 2019, the world crude steel production reached 1870 million tonnes (mt) and showed a growthof 3.4% over CY 2018.
  • China remained world’s largest crude steel producer in same period (996 mt) followed by India (111mt), Japan (99mt) and the USA (88mt).
  • Per capita finished steel consumption in 2018was224.5 kg for world and 590.1 kg for China(Source: World Steel Association). The same for India was 73.3 kg in 2018 (Source: JPC) and 75.7 kg (prov) in 2019.The per capita consumption of India in 2018-19 was 74.1 kg and that in 2019-20 was 74.6 kg (prov.) (Source: JPC).

Note: World Steel Association report, Data Provisional. Data on per capita consumption yet to be released for 2019 by World Steel Association. For India, figures are quoted based on data released by JPC.

Domestic Scenario

 The Indian steel industry has entered into a new development stage, post de-regulation, riding high on the resurgent economy and rising demand for steel.

  • Rapid rise in production has resulted in India becoming the 2ndlargest producer of crude steel during 2018 and 2019 (prov), from its 3rd largest status in 2017. The country was alsothe largest producer of Sponge Iron or DRI in the worldand the 3rd largest finished steel consumer in the world after China & USA in 2019 (prov.)
  • In a de-regulated, liberalized economic/market scenario like India the Government’s role is that of a facilitator which lays down the policy guidelines and establishes the institutional mechanism/structure for creating conducive environment for improving efficiency and performance of the steel sector.
  • In this role, the Government has released the National Steel Policy 2017, which has laid down the broad roadmap for encouraging long term growth for the Indian steel industry, both on demand and supply sides, by 2030-31. The Government has also announced a policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured Iron & Steel products in Government procurement.

Production

 Steel industry was de-licensed and de-controlled in 1991 &1992 respectively.

  • India was the 2ndlargest producer of crude steel in the worldin 2019(prov.).
  • In 2019-20, production of total finished steel (alloy/stainless + non alloy) was102.059 million tonnes (mt) (prov.).
  • Production of Pig Iron in 2019-20was 5.507 mt (prov.), a declineof 14.1% over last year.
  • India was the largest producer of Sponge Iron in the world in 2019(prov.). The coal based route accounted for 86% of total Sponge Iron production (37.143 mt) in the country in 2019-20(prov.).
  • Data on production of Pig Iron, Sponge Iron and Total Finished Steel (alloy/stainless + non-alloy) are given below for last five years:

Indian steel industry: Production (in million tonnes)

Category

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20*

Pig Iron

10.24

10.34

5.73

6.41

5.51

Sponge Iron

22.43

28.76

30.51

34.71

37.14

Total Finished Steel

106.60

120.14

126.85

101.29

102.06

Source: Joint Plant Committee; *prov.; For Details, please refer to appendix

Demand - Availability

 Industry dynamics including demand – availability of iron and steel in the country arelargely determined by market forces and gaps in demand-availability are met mostly through imports.

  • Interface with consumers exists by way of meeting of the Steel Consumers’ Council, which is conducted on regular basis.
  • Interface helps in redressing availability problems, complaints related to quality.

Steel Prices

 Price regulation of iron & steel was abolished on 16.1.1992. Since then steel prices are determined by the interplay of market forces.

  • Domestic steel prices are influenced by trends in raw material prices, demand – supply conditions in the market, international price trends among others.
  • As a facilitator, the Government monitors the steel market conditions and adopts fiscal and other policy measures based on its assessment. Currently, GST of 18% is applicable on steel and there is no export duty on steel items.
  • A Steel Price Monitoring Committee has been constituted by the Government with the aim to monitor price rationalization, analyze price fluctuations and advise all concerned regarding any irrational price behaviour of steel commodity.
  • To avoid any distortion in prices in view of ad-hoc and rising imports, the Government hadtaken several steps including raising import duty andimposed a gamut of measures including anti-dumping andsafeguard duties on a host of applicable iron and steel items. In a further move to curb steel imports, the Indian government banned the production and sale of steel products that does not meet Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) approval and to check the sale of defective and sub-standard stainless steel products used for making utensils and various kitchen appliances, it issued the Stainless Steel (Quality Control) Order, 2016 for products used in making utensils and kitchen appliances, that will help filter imports of the metal.

Imports

 Iron & steel are freely importable.

  • Data on import of total finished steel (alloy/stainless + non alloy) is given below for last five years:

Indian steel industry : Import of Total Finished Steel (in million tonnes)

Category

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20*

Qty 

11.71

7.23

7.48

7.83

6.77

Source: Joint Plant Committee; *prov.

Exports

 Iron & steel are freely exportable.

  • India emerged as a net exporter of total finished steel in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2019-20(prov.).
  • Data on export of total finished steel (alloy/stainless + non alloy) is given below for last five years:

Indian steel industry : Export of Total Finished Steel(in million tonnes)

Category

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20*

Qty

4.08

8.24

9.62

6.36

8.36

Source: Joint Plant Committee; *prov.

Levies on Iron & Steel

SDF levy: This was a levy started for funding modernisation, expansion and development of steel sector. The Fund, inter-alia, supportsCapital expenditure for modernisation, rehabilitation, diversification, renewal & replacement of Integrated Steel Plants, Research & Development, Rebates to SSI Corporations among others. The SDF levy was abolished on 21.4.94. An Empowered Committee has been set up to guide the R&D effort in this sector.

EGEAF: This levy started for reimbursing the price differential cost of inputs used for engineering exporters. Fund was discontinued on 19.2.96.

Opportunities for growth of Iron and Steel in Private Sector

The New Industrial Policy Regime

The New Industrial policy opened up the Indian iron and steel industry for private investment by (a) removing it from the list of industries reserved for public sector and (b) exempting it from compulsory licensing. Imports of foreign technology as well as foreign direct investment are now freely permitted up to certain limits under an automatic route. Ministry of Steel plays the role of a facilitator, providing broad directions and assistance to new and existing steel plants, in the liberalized scenario.

The Growth Profile

(i) Steel : The liberalization of industrial policy and other initiatives taken by the Government have given a definite impetus for entry, participation and growth of the private sector in the steel industry. While the existing units are being modernized/expanded, a large number of new steel plants have also come up in different parts of the country based on modern, cost effective, state of-the-art technologies. In the last few years, the rapid and stable growth of the demand side has also prompted domestic entrepreneurs to set up fresh greenfield projects in different states of the country.

Crude steel capacity was 142.98 mt in 2019-20 (prov.), up by 0.5% over 2018-19and India, which emerged as the 2ndlargest producer of crude steel in the world in 2019, as per data released by the World Steel Association, has to its credit, the capability to produce a variety of grades and that too, of international quality standards.

(ii) Pig Iron: India is also an important producer of pig iron. Post-liberalization, with setting up several units in the private sector, not only imports have drastically reduced but also India has turned out to be a net exporter of pig iron. The private sector accounted for 89% of total production of pig iron (5.507 mt) in the country in 2019-20 (prov.).

(iii) Sponge Iron: India, world’slargest producer of sponge iron (2019), has a host of coal basedunits located in the mineral-rich states of the country. Over the years, the coal based route has emerged as a key contributor and accounted for 86%of total Sponge Iron production in the country during 2019-20 (prov.). Capacity in Sponge Iron making too has increased over the years and stood at 37.143 mt (2019-20) (prov.).

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Appendix

  1. i) As per the reporting system followed by Joint Plant Committee (JPC), which is authorized by the Ministry of Steel to collect and disseminate data on the domestic iron and steel industry, the said system prevailing till 2013-14 had (a) reported on the concept of production for sale and (b) featured the “Main Producers” and “Majors and Other Producers” as the two leading industry classifications at that time. However, effective from 2017-18, with the approval of the Ministry of Steel and following rounds of interaction with industry experts, the JPC reporting system had changed, in sync with the changing dynamics and mode of operation of steel industry and partly also in response to changes in the policy environment. Under the new system, production for sale has been replaced by Gross Production (or simply Production) with revision in past five years data as well. Secondly, with industry classification system getting dissolved vide guidelines issued by the Ministry of Steel in May 2016, the present JPC reporting system features (a) the composite group of “SAIL, RINL, TSL, ESL, JSW, JSPL” and that of “Other Producers”.
  1. ii) The issue of data collection and reporting by JPC was reviewed in details at various forum of interaction sessions with industry representatives as well as Ministry of Steel and it was felt that given the structural changes in the domestic steel industry as well as the present input-output dynamics, the data reporting system followed by JPC should undergo some modifications. The following modifications were made in JPC reporting system from 2018-19:-
  1. a) It introduces the method of Crude Steel to HR equivalent, covering only those items which contribute directly to Finished Steel Production starting from Crude Steel/Semis Production.
  2. b) It thus separates out Downstream and Value-Added Product Basket (CR/GP etc) which is reported separately. There is, however, no aggregate numbers of these parameters for the items in this Basket.
  3. c) Also, data on imports, exports, stock variation and consumption of items featured in this Basket are available with JPC and are reported accordingly.
  4. d) Steel Consumption is arrived at by standard procedure of adjusting Finished Steel Production with Net Imports and Stock Variation, computed by using all items across the value chain, so as to ensure no loss of data.
  1. e) Per capita steel consumption is computed by using steel consumption numbers as arrived at above and population for the country as reported by Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

However, it may be noted, that all throughout such changes, the system of reporting by JPC continues to be for statistical use only.