India’s July steel output rises 4% on month as COVID-19 cases fall

India produced 9.73 million mt of crude steel in July, up 3.9% from June and 11.9% year on year, provisional data from the Joint Plant Committee showed on Aug. 5.

The increases came as the number of COVID-19 cases in India fell to 41,649 at the end of July, from an all-time high of 414,818 cases recorded on May 7, data from the World Health Organization showed.

As a result of the lower confirmed infections, the country’s manufacturing sector rebounded in July as the purchasing managers’ index. as published by IHS Markit, rebounded to 53.1 in July from a 48.1 contraction in June.

Due to the manufacturing rebound, July’s finished steel consumption in the country rose 0.7% from June to settle at 8.25 million mt, which was also 7.3% higher annually.

Future consumption faces market uncertainty, especially as the domestic vehicle industry faces headwinds from higher commodity costs, a semiconductor chip shortage and concerns of a third COVID-19 wave.

Suzuki Maruti said on Aug. 4 that it plans stop production at Suzuki Motor Gujarat on Aug. 7, Aug. 14 and Aug. 21, citing the chip shortage while several production days could see one shift deployed daily instead of two shifts.

Amid the rebound, India’s finished steel exports stood out with 1.51 million mt shipped out in July, a rise of 9.9% year on year and 10.5% from June.

Indian Steel Data (million mt)

Source: Joint Plant Committee

— Clement Choo