Stainless steel production declines 19 pc to 3.17 MT in 2020: ISSDA

New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI): Stainless steel production in the country declined 19 per cent to 3.17 million tonnes (MT) in 2020, according to the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA).

Despite the pandemic-induced lockdown in the April-June 2020 period, which halted the production in the country during the quarter, India continued to be the second-largest producer of stainless steel globally.

“Stainless steel melt production in India stood at 3.17 MT in CY2020 (calender year 2020), registering a decline of 19 per cent over CY2019,” ISSDA said in a statement.

The Indian stainless steel production for 2019 was recorded at 3.93 MT.

“The stainless steel production and demand saw a V-shaped recovery in India from July 2020 onward after the government began relaxing the lockdown,” the statement said.

It said global stainless steel melt shop production decreased 2.5 per cent to 50.9 MT in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the latest data released by the Brussels-based International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF).

China remained the leading producer accounting for over 50 per cent of the global stainless steel production at 30 MT. It is the only country to record a production increase of 2.5 per cent in 2020 over the preceding year.

All other regions, including Europe, the US, and Asia, saw a dip in production in 2020 on account of the impact of the pandemic.

ISSDA President K K Pahuja said, “Performance of the domestic stainless steel industry is fair, considering the severe impact of the pandemic on the entire value chain. Efforts by the industry along with government stimulus helped in gradual recovery post July 2020.”

He also added that as the economy is gradually regaining momentum, the government must look at sector-specific concerns to provide further policy stimulus. “Revoking of countervailing duties on imports from Indonesia and China may impact the current growth of the sector in this calendar year and again lead to dumping of stainless steel.”

To revive the Indian stainless steel industry urgently, ISSDA has urged the government to adopt a multi-pronged strategy of boosting local manufacturing and curbing unwarranted imports in the country.

ISSDA said it expects a glut of stainless steel imports at a time when the domestic industry is struggling to cope with the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“India is a large and lucrative market, and with the suspension of duties, China and Indonesia are expected to resort to aggressive dumping.

“For an industry with high import intensity, this could aggravate unemployment in the sector, particularly in the MSMEs, which constitute one-third of the capacity,” the statement said.

Established in 1989 by leading stainless steel producers, ISSDA was formed with the explicit objective of diversifying the applications of stainless steel and increasing usage volumes in the country.