New Delhi: India's steel imports dipped by 8.7 percent last month but was up 24.1 percent for the April-January period of the ongoing fiscal.
The development comes in the wake of the government taking a number of steps to check inbound shipments from countries like China.
"Imports in January decreased by 8.7 percent compared to January 2015. However, imports of total finished steel at 9.306 million tonnes (MT) in April-January 2015-16 saw a growth of 24.1 percent compared to same period of last year," a Steel Ministry official said quoting the latest data.
Imports in January at 0.916 million tonnes decreased by 2.8 percent compared with December 2015, he said.
"India was a net importer of total finished steel in the current fiscal so far," a Steel Ministry panel has said in its report.
After a decline in November, India's steel imports have surged by 23 percent in December neutralising the measures taken by the government to check cheap imports.
Steel imports has risen by 23 percent to 0.94 MT in December compared to November. In November, steel imports were at 0.76 MT, down by 35 percent over the previous month.
However, the December imports were down by 1.4 percent compared to that in same month of 2014.
Since June, steel sector has been provided a range of protection including hike in import and safeguard duties to check cheap imports.
Analysts has said exporting countries, particularly China, have been constantly adjusting (reducing) the price of steel products in-line with the imposition of duties.
In June, India imposed anti-dumping duty of up to USD 316 per tonne on imports of certain steel products from three countries, including China, to protect domestic producers from below-cost inbound shipments.
Then in August, the government had hiked import duty on base metals, including iron and steel, by 2.5 percent, in a move aimed at helping domestic players battle out cheap Chinese imports after yen devaluation.
In September, a provisional safeguard duty of 20 percent was imposed on import of hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy steel, which is in vogue for 200 days.