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India's Apr-Jan Steel Imports at 6-Y High, China Shipments Surge

NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - India's steel imports touched a six-year high in the first 10 months of the fiscal year to March, led by Chinese shipments, and India was a net importer of finished steel, according to provisional government data seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The demand for steel was strong in India, the world's second-biggest crude steel producer, as the country remained a bright spot globally with robust demand from its construction and automotive sectors.

Steel consumption in India jumped 14.5% to a six-year high of 112.5 million metric tons during the period, reflecting buoyant demand for the alloy in one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

India's steel demand is likely to stay strong as the government expects economic growth will outpace the global economy in the next fiscal year.

India imported 6.7 million metric tons of finished steel between April and January, up 35% from a year earlier, the data showed.

India's steel mills have called for government interventions and safeguard measures against surging imports. However, the federal Ministry of Steel has resisted calls for curbs, citing strong local demand.

China was the top exporter of finished steel to India between April and January, shipping 2.18 million metric tons of the alloy, up 80% from the same period a year earlier to hit a six-year high.

China primarily exported hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel products followed by galvanised plain and corrugated sheets as well as plates and pipes among others.

South Korea was the second-biggest exporter, whose shipments of finished steel to India reached a four-year high of 2.15 million metric tons during the period.

India's finished steel exports were at 5.5 million metric tons between April and January, up 3.6% on year. Crude steel output stood at 119 million metric tons, up 13.5% from a year earlier.

Reporting by Neha Arora; Editing by Sohini Goswami

Source: Reuters

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