India moves up, turns world’s third-largest steel producer | business | Hindustan Times
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India moves up, turns world’s third-largest steel producer

business Updated: Oct 28, 2009 20:27 IST
Sumant Banerji

The country has consolidated its position as the third-largest steelmaker in the world behind Asian rivals China and Japan, jumping three spots in the pecking order for steel producers in the first nine months of this year.

With the global downturn still impacting the steel industry worldwide, United States and Germany are the two biggest victims of the downturn, with the former slipping two positions.

China and India were the only two countries to report growth in the sector this year so far. All others — including developing countries like Brazil and Ukraine — have declined in high double digits. The extent of the downturn is such that of the 66 countries that together make up for over 98 per cent of world's steel production and consumption, only 8 have been able to grow.

"It shows the strength of the economy that we are now the third largest steelmaker in the world even as most other countries are still fighting the downturn," said steel minister Virbhadra Singh. "Our per capita consumption of steel is still very low and vast chunks of rural market is still untapped. It is my endeavour to increase the penetration of steel in rural markets and have urged the private sector to open up more steel processing units in those areas."

Further, this may not be the end of the Indian fairytale as industry experts are of the opinion that India would overtake Japan eventually.

"There are clear indications that China and India are the countries that have come out of the recession the fastest and there is an uptake in demand in construction related industries and automobiles in India," said Bishwanath Bhattacharya, Associate Director (KPMG Advisory). "Though Japan is still ahead of India, there is no disputing the fact that it is not likely to grow much further while India is definitely on an upward trajectory. In around 6-7 years time India would be only behind China."