Report, Auto News, ET Auto
India’s copper import, which rose 26% to 60,766 tonnes in the June 2021-2022 quarter, is expected to increase further over the remainder of the year as economic activity continues to boom. COVID-related restrictions resumed, the International Copper Association said.
The country’s copper imports could reach 3 lakh ton as economic growth accelerates despite adequate domestic capacity to meet growing demand, he said.
“In the first quarter of fiscal 22, India’s copper imports increased by 26 cents to 60,766 tonnes, from 48,105 tonnes in the same period last year, even as the country was in the throes of a second wave of COVID with several lockdowns.
“Demand for the crucial metal, which is a key input for several sectors, is expected to increase further over the remainder of the year as economic activity sees a sharp recovery in COVID-related restrictions,” he said. he declares.
India ended the last fiscal year with copper imports of 2,333,671 tonnes.
With a growth of 26 to 30%, imports are expected to be in the order of 295,000 to 304,000 tonnes for the current fiscal year, the association added.
“It is disheartening to see imports increasing so sharply and other countries winning at our expense even though we have sufficient domestic production capacity to meet our domestic demand,” said Mayur Karmakar, director of the International Copper Association. .
“We are seeing a sharp increase in copper imports into the country. Even though the first quarter of this fiscal year saw several lockdowns and various restrictions imposed in several states due to the second wave of COVID, copper imports increased by 26%. compared to the same quarter last year, ”Karmakar said.
He said given strong demand from various sectors, copper imports could increase 30% year-on-year between July and March.
“With the economy opening up and foreclosure restrictions easing in most parts of the country, we are seeing a further surge in demand as manufacturing and other sectors gain momentum,” he added.
Significantly, India was a net exporter of copper for almost two decades before the closure of the Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu in May 2018.
In the same year, India became a net importer of copper for the first time. With increasing demand from various sectors, the import figure is expected to increase every year, although domestic production is hardly increasing.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, India generated net foreign exchange of US $ 1.1 billion from copper exports in 2017-18. However, after the closure of the Sterlite Copper smelter, India now experiences a net foreign exchange outflow of USD 1.2 billion due to copper imports each year.
In addition, India’s import of refined copper has benefited China to a large extent. Prior to the closure of the Tuticorin smelter, India exported copper worth US $ 2.1 billion to China in 2017. The same amount has sharply declined to just US $ 532 million in 2020. At the same time, copper exports to China from Pakistan and Malaysia increased by more than $ 2 billion from 2017 to 2020.
In other words, the suspension of operations at the Tuticorin smelter helped China reduce its import dependence on India by $ 1.5 billion.