The eye-catching factory gates at Jindal are made of 304 stainless steel tubes.

Spurt in economic growth likely to push stainless steel demand

In the last few years some major economic reforms have caused the Indian economy to go through a massive transformative phase. Economic growth has been resilient in India, even when the major economies of the world witnessed slowdown.
^ The eye-catching factory gates at Jindal are made of 304 stainless steel tubes.

Article by Nirmal Mathur

The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospective Report indicated that India’s GDP is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent or more despite the background of persistent economic global depression. The recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast showing a promising growth of India varying between 7.4 per cent and 7.8 per cent for 2018-19 and 2019-2020 respectively also augurs well for the country.

In the past two years, India has improved its rank by 53 points in ease of doing business Indicators which is an excellent jump that has not been achieved by any economy that is comparable to India in size and scale. The country’s services sector in October expanded at the quickest pace since July 2018, driven by significant increase in new business orders. India’s manufacturing PMI showed a good growth in October. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, or PMI, increased to reach 53.1 in October from 52.2 in September.

The infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development. The government of India has invested highly in the infrastructure sector, mainly highways, renewable energy, urban transport and smart cities. 

The government is also taking every possible initiative to boost the infrastructure sector and the increasing impetus to develop infrastructure in the country is attracting major global players. This sector has witnessed increase in foreign direct investments over the past two years. 

Initiatives like housing for all and smart city mission is also directing the growth in this sector. The massive push to the infrastructure sector has come by the allocation of USD 92.22 billion for the sector. As of August 2018, 22 metro rail projects are ongoing or are under construction. Indian railways in the current year decided to only produce stainless steel coaches, replacing the existing fleet in a phased manner. 

The use of stainless steel in public transportation especially in long distance buses and other public transport systems is accepted worldwide and the Indian market is also gearing up to use a better material such as stainless steel for this application.

Smart cities

India’s strength lies in creating its internal markets as it already has a fast-growing middle-class population. Urban population is large and growing and is likely to double in the next couple of decades. To cater to the needs of this urbanisation, India needs good cities with modern infrastructure. 

This challenge is being answered by the government of India through the setting up of “Smart Cities” and “Amrut Cities” at identified locations across the country which will merge smart solutions and functional efficiency to create better living communities and thereby improving the future for the country. 

The objective of the Smart City is to provide quality water supply, provide proper waste management, promote a variety of public transportation options and develop well-planned open spaces. Here again stainless steel is likely to play a major role in supporting a sustainable infrastructure.

From being a dominant material in household kitchen, stainless steel is now used in commercial kitchens as well. The fact that stainless steel is inert to most food environments makes it an ideal material for the food industry.

Currently it is widely accepted for use in the dairy sector. With the government’s increased focus on health and safety regulation implementations related to the meat, oil and beverage processing industries stainless steel will find its suitability and demand will keep increasing. In the first two quarters of financial year (March-August) stainless steel production has witnessed an average growth of nearly 8% compared to previous years.

The consumption has also increased at the same pace. Higher growth on the back of revival in manufacturing and construction is reflected in demand pick-up for steel, including stainless steel. Sustained efforts by the industry and government on promoting stainless steel continues to drive higher consumption. It is most likely that economic growth in the country will continue to pick up along with stainless steel demand.


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