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Galvanised sheets top India's steel export

Rabindra Nath Sinha

KOLKATA, May 21

IT'S now established that galvanised plain / corrugated (GP/GC) sheets registered the maximum growth in India's steel exports in 2002-03 and that the secondary sector producers together accounted for the lion's share of the increase in the exports of the two items.

The second significant point to emerge is that in the absence of tariff barriers, the US emerged as the largest market for India's GP/GC sheets, with a share of 43 per cent according to provisional estimates. China, with 27 per cent, was the second largest importer. Which means that the US and China together accounted for 70 per cent of India's exports of GP/GC sheets. The third point worth mentioning in the context of GP/GC sheet exports in the last financial year is that among the main producers Tata Steel became a strong player. It had made a modest beginning in 2001-02 by exporting 27,100 tonnes. But, 2002-03 saw the company take full advantage of stabilised production and strong outmarket demand. Its exports of the items spurted to an estimated 1.53 lakh tonnes.

At the provisionally estimated 3.7 million tonnes (mt), India recorded the best steel export performance in the last financial year. Compared with a little over 2.7 mt in 2001-02, exports were up almost one mt.

The item-wise break-up of exports in 2002-03 is (figures in brackets are for 2001-02) : GP/GC sheets -- 1.27 mt plus (6.95 lakh tonnes), HR coils / sheets -- 1.1 mt plus (9.79 lakh tonnes), CR sheets / coils - 4.10 lakh tonnes (3.20 lakh tonnes), plates - 2.8 lakh tonnes plus (1.82 lakh tonnes plus) and bars & rods - 4.99 lakh tonnes plus (3.99 lakh tonnes plus).

Thus, in the overall increase of one mt, the shares were: GP/GC sheets -- 579,000 tonnes, HR coils / sheets -- 122,000 tonnes, CR sheets / coils -- 90,000 tonnes, plates -- 98,000 tonnes and bars & rods -- 100,000 tonnes.

The growth rates were : GP/GC sheets -- over 83 per cent, HR coils / Sheets -- 12.5 per cent plus, CR sheets / coils -- 28 per cent, plates -- 53 per cent and bars & rods -- 25 per cent.

In GP/GC sheets, the secondary sector producers accounted for an increase of 4.53 lakh tonnes. The increase of 1.26 lakh tonnes recorded by Tata Steel took the total increase to 5.79 lakh tonnes.

Steel Authority of India Ltd gave a good account of itself in plate exports and the entire increase of 98,000 tonnes is attributable to SAIL. It's a significant achievement because tariff barriers had ruled out the US market.

India also did well in the exports of pig iron and semis. Outmarket sales of pig iron were 5.8 lakh tonnes plus, as against a little over 3.12 lakh tonnes in 2001-02. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, the corporate entity for Vizag Steel Plant, alone accounted for over 3.85 lakh tonnes. Exports of semis stood at almost 4.5 lakh tonnes, against 2.81 lakh tonnes in 2001-02. With 2.41 lakh tonnes, which marked a jump of 95,000 tonnes on 2001-02, SAIL was the largest exporters in this segment.For the record, it may be mentioned that after registering a negative growth in 2001, world crude steel production rose 6.4 per cent in 2002. The figures of world crude steel production since 1997 are: 799 mt in 1997, 777 mt in 1998, 788 mt in 1999, 847 mt in 2000, 834 mt in 2001 and 887 mt in 2002. The growth rates posted by China and India in 2002 over 2001 were 20.3 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.

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