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India

2024 is an election year in India and the next government will be in place within the next 100 days.

The interim budget for the 2024-25 financial year was presented on February 1 and no major changes in duty structure were announced. Capital expenditure outlay has been increased by 11% to INR 11,111 billion (3.4% of GDP), providing a boost to the housing sector as well as further impetus for the stainless steel industry. Some 20 million houses are to be built under the PM Gramin Awas scheme and 40,000 railway coaches are to be upgraded, thereby adding to demand for stainless steel products in the near term. Ferrous and stainless steel scrap are to  continue to be imported at 0% import duty.

Some stainless steel long product manufacturers have started importing billets from South East Asia.

Visible gaps are being seen between international prices of scrap and Indian mills’ buying prices. Mills are preferring very competitively priced import cargoes or supplies from domestic sources. In the near future, domestic supplies are going to remain firm as India’s own recycling sector is seeing visible traction.

The challenges resulting from the disruption in the Red Sea region are impacting incoming raw materials as well as exports of finished products. Stainless steel producers are already expecting lower export volumes in the final quarter of the financial year and are trying to augment domestic sales to compensate.