A revival in India’s steel consumption from the weakest estimated growth in at least four years hinges on the government boosting spending on infrastructure, housing and road projects to absorb record output.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will announce Feb. 1 higher outlays for national highways, rural roads, railways and low-cost housing, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicted in a Jan. 19 report. Any major budget initiatives in infrastructure and construction would stimulate domestic steel demand, according to Seshagiri Rao, joint managing director at India’s second-biggest mill, JSW Steel Ltd.
Mills in India such as JSW, Steel Authority of India Ltd. and Tata Steel Ltd. are projected to produce a record amount of the metal this year in anticipation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s infrastructure push. Their plans were disrupted in November when a move to ban some high-denomination currency notes tightened spending and prompted Morgan Stanley to predict flat sales in the 12 months through March 31. The bank expects usage to grow at 5 percent next year. Steel demand could expand by around 10 percent if all the projects promised by the government are implemented, JSW’s Rao said.