India facts

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Jun 8 09:30:32 MDT 2001

                                        Argentina               India
Gross National Product '98 (US$ billion)        290.3                   427.4
GNP per capita '98 (US$ billion)                8,030                   440


Unlike other countries, two-thirds of our manufacturing employment is in
tiny workshops as opposed to modern factories."
(Jairam Ramesh, "India Today", Feb. 19, 2001)


Asiaweek, May 15, 1998

Indian Steel's False Start


After a post-election surge, some hard realities

"Asia's road to economic ruin will be littered with the carcasses of steel
companies," wrote Paribas Asia Equity analyst Rajeev Das in a recent
regional steel report. India, the world's tenth-biggest steel producer,
will not be spared. The Asian malaise has hit the industry hard overall. Of
the world's top ten steel importers, eight are from the battered region:
Taiwan (ranked 2nd), Thailand (3), Malaysia (4), China (5), the Philippines
(6), Singapore (7), Indonesia (9) and Hong Kong (10). Except Asia's net
imports to be down to 4 million tons in 1999 from 26 million in 1996.

Even when there were hints of a slowdown in the region's economies, the
Indian steel industry's ambition to join South Korea and Japan as Asia's
only net-exporters seemed to make sense. Today, however, Asia, India's
natural market, has been knocked out of shape. Plus, South Korea, which has
Pohang Iron & Steel, the world's No.2 steel company, is desperate for
dollars and likely to discount heavily.

Later this year, more and more of the Indian production capacity planned
over the rosy last five years comes on-stream. The international market is
cooling -- the price is lower than in India -- and freight costs are high.
In mid-1997, the price of benchmark hot-rolled coil was $ 360 per metric
ton. It is now $ 280 per metric ton and may plunge to $ 240 in the coming
months. With demand and prices down and supplies up, selling steel overseas
is no longer a good idea.

Louis Proyect
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