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India's crude steel production has grown more than the world output during the first six months of calendar year 2019

2019-08-14

During the first half (January-June) of 2019, the production of the metal grew by five per cent to 56.96 million tonnes (mt) compared to 54.23 million tonnes recorded in the same period of 2018, according to World Steel Association (WSA).

World crude steel production was 925.1 mt in the first six months of 2019, up by 4.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. Asia produced 660.2 mt of crude steel, an increase of 7.4 per cent over the first half of 2018. The EU produced 84.7 mt of crude steel in the first half of 2019, down by 2.5 per cent compared to the same period of 2018.

North America's crude steel production in the first six months of 2019 was 60.1 Mt, an increase of 1.4 per cent over the first half of 2018. The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region produced 50.5 mt of crude steel in the first six months of 2019, the same as in the corresponding period of 2018.

China's crude steel production for June 2019 was 87.5 mt, an increase of 10 per cent compared to June 2018. India produced 9.3 mt of crude steel in June 2019, an increase of 4 per cent compared to June 2018.

Japan produced 8.8 mt of crude steel in June 2019, down 0.4 per cent on June 2018. South Korea's crude steel production was 6.0 mt in June 2019, a decrease of 2.6 per cent in June 2018.

India, back in 2018, had usurped Japan as the second largest steel producing nation. China, though, is the largest producer of crude steel, accounting for more than 51 per cent of all production, according to Worldsteel, a consortium with representative members in every major steel making country. In calendar 2018, India's crude steel output inched up 4.9 per cent to 106.5 mt, up from 101.5 mt in 2017.

In its earlier report titled 'Short Range Outlook April 2019', WSA had prophesied Indian steel demand to grow in upwards of seven per cent in 2019 and 2020.

Weathering the shocks of demonetisation and the Goods & Services Tax (GST) implementation, the Indian economy is now expected to step on the higher growth trajectory beginning the second half of 2019. While fiscal deficit might weigh on public investment to an extent, the wide range of continuing infrastructure projects could support growth in steel demand above seven per cent in both 2019 and 2020, the association had noted.

Families who have been hit by abnormal levels of tumours and respiratory diseases around Taranto say the plant - a state-owned company until 1995 - should be closed, and the sprawling site cleaned up.

"They have fed families with this factory, but they have taken away so much from others," said Angelo Di Ponzio, 46, whose son Giorgio died aged 15 in January after a three-year battle against cancer.

Giorgio was born in the Paulo VI neighbourhood named after Pope Paul VI who held a Christmas mass at the factory a few years after it opened in 1968.

The pontiff's warning that the factory might boost the economy but that "man is worth more than machines and what they produce" is remembered bitterly by those who accuse the government and the plant's previous owners of wilful negligence.

"Giorgio was an explosion of life, something incredible. He showed all the courage he had," his mother Carla Luccarelli, 42, told AFP in the garden of their country home, where they moved in search of clean air after the boy fell ill.

The Di Ponzios, who have two other children, speak for many when they slam the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) for rowing back on its electoral promise to transform the plant into a clean energy park.

"People voted for M5S as a last resort. But they didn't even wait three days before eating their words," they said.

Source: Business Standard