| Jain: Money lies abroad
New Delhi, Sept. 26: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is aiming at a 22 per cent increase in exports in the current financial year.
Speaking at the 31st annual general meeting of the company, SAIL chairman V. S. Jain said, “Although our basic policy is to remain a leading domestic player, we will maintain our thrust on exports to balance our sustained production growth.”
The public sector steel major has set a target of 1.031 million tonnes of exports against 0.85 million tonnes in 2002-03. Domestic steel sales will however remain high at 9.516 million tonnes.
The focus on exports has been wrought by a China-led growth in demand for steel since the beginning of 2002, which brought a 6 per cent growth in world consumption in 2002-03 and helped to eliminate the oversupply situation in the international market.
The trail of export improvement can be traced in the performance of SAIL in 2002-03, where it recorded an increase of 53 per cent over the 0.55 million tonnes in the previous year.
China was SAIL’s largest importer last year. About 40 per cent of the company's total exports headed towards China. It comprised coils, sheets and galvanised products and amounted to 0.34 million tonnes. Nepal was the second largest importer of SAIL steel. Other major importers include Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Over 50,000 tonnes of SAIL steel was exported to European countries.
Speaking about the roadblocks in the export targets, Jain said, “Many leading countries of the world are still pursuing protectionist measures. We will need the support of all concerned to lower these barriers and government support on the policy framework.”
The chairman also told shareholders at the meeting that the company has recorded highest-ever April-August production of saleable steel this year at 4.3 million tonnes, an improvement of 8 per cent over the same period last year. “This reflects average capacity utilisation of 102 per cent, indicating a healthy resurgence,” Jain said.
In April-August, a growth of over 10 per cent has been achieved by SAIL against the year-ago period with sales of 4.1 million tonnes. “This includes an improvement of 126 per cent in exports,” said Jain.