Indian Steel and Iron Exports Increase by 100% Despite Engineering Goods Decline and Job Loses
Aug 24, 2020
On March 24, 2020, the Indian government implemented a strict nationwide coronavirus-related lockdown, dramatically limiting the country’s entire population of 1.3 billion. As a result, from April through July, a total of 18.9 million salaried jobs were lost, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE). The flipside of this monumental shift is the increase in non-salaried or “informal” jobs, a 25-percent increase from 317.6 million in July 2019, compared to 325.6 million in July of this year. Engineering jobs and products, therein, continue to be affected as a result.
By June, the shutdown and cascading ripple effects in the job market had yielded an overall 7 percent decline of engineering goods—including industrial machinery, automotive parts, and machine tools. As with other exports, declines in demand, disrupted supply chains, and labor shortages have presented the Indian economy with major hurdles. Steel and iron exports, however, increased by 100 percent during June (compared to June 2019), according to the Economic Times.
The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) issued a report in July stating that out of 33 engineering export items, 27 recorded negative year-on-year growth the month prior—wherein the six positives related to metals, notably steel and iron. Much of this growth can be attributed to exports to China which saw a 1,400 percent increase ($524 million compared to $35 million the year prior). As the Times also notes, steel and iron exports to Vietnam increased by 700 percent, and to Taiwan by 200 percent.
This news comes as the United States and India continue to build on sweeping trade negotiations. Following President Trump’s visit to Ahmedabad and Agra in February, the two countries are reportedly close to reaching a conclusion to two years of negotiations. Related to steel and other metals, the Indian government is advocating for exemptions to high U.S. duties and great access to American automotive and engineering markets.
To engage with ASME on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact Aaron Weinerman, Manager, Global Public Affairs, at WeinermanA@asme.org.