India's steel consumption grew by a mere 0.7 per cent during the first quarter of current fiscal to 18.82 million tonnes (MT). The country had consumed 18.69 MT steel in the April-June quarter of last fiscal, showed data compiled by Joint Plant Committee (JPC), a body under the Steel Ministry.
In recent months, the rate of growth in consumption was the fastest at 3.4 per cent in April. It was 0.3 per cent in May and 0.9 per cent in June.
Production of finished steel grew by 1.5 per cent during the period at 21.86 MT over the same period last year. SAIL, RINL, Tata Steel and other major players cumulatively produced 11.34 MT clocking a growth of just two per cent, the JPC said.
Contribution of mini and small firms' production rose by 0.3 per cent during the period.
India exported 1.34 MT of finished steel during April-June period clocking a 18.5 per cent growth over a year ago, imports also went up. During the period, India's import of finished steel saw a growth of 11.8 per cent to 1.49 MT.
India's steel consumption grew by just 0.6 per cent in the 2013-14 fiscal, the slowest in at least four years, to 73.93 MT. Exports grew by 4.1 per cent at 5.59 MT, while imports were down by 31.3 per cent during the period 5.445 MT.
India is the fourth largest steel maker in the world with 81 MT of production in last year. The sector contributes about two per cent of the country's GDP and employs over six lakh people.
The Steel Ministry estimates that the country's consumption may go up to 176 MT by 2025-26 if the economy grows by 6.5 per cent during the period between now and 2025-26.