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India's steel demand to grow 7.5% in 2023-24 - industry

A worker observes an electric furnace inside a steel factory on the outskirts of Jammu

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's steel consumption is expected to grow by 7.5% during the current fiscal year to March 2024, boosted by rising demand from the domestic construction, railways and capital goods sectors, a leading industry body said on Friday. Steel demand is expected to be 128.9 million tonnes during 2023-24, up from 119.9 million tonnes during the previous year, the Indian Steel Association (ISA) said in a statement. The steel sector has benefited from India's strong economic growth, and industries such as automotive and consumer durables are expected to fuel steel consumption, ISA said. Economic growth in Asia's third-largest economy is forecast to average 6.0% for the current fiscal year and then rise to 6.4% in 2024-25, according to a Reuters poll of economists. "Driven by a strong momentum in infrastructure spending and sustained growth in urban consumption, steel demand in India will continue to expand by 8-9 million tonnes each year in the next two financial years," ISA said. A top executive at JSW Steel Ltd, the country's largest steelmaker by capacity, last week said he estimated India's steel demand to rise by 7%-8% this year.

India is world's second biggest crude steel producer. Output jumped 4.2% to a record 125.3 million tonnes in 2022-23. However global demand dragged down India's steel exports to a five-year low during the financial year that ended in March 2023.

(Reporting by Neha Arora; Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Frances Kerry)