By Neha Arora
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's finished steel purchases from China touched a five-year high in April, and the country's overall imports of the alloy reached a four-year high, according to provisional government data reviewed by Reuters.
In April, China emerged as the second-biggest steel exporter to India by shipping out 0.1 million tonnes, up 79% year on year. Imports from China accounted for nearly a quarter of India's overall finished steel imports in April.
India imported 0.5 million tonnes of finished steel in April - the highest since 2019 - up 38.2% from a year earlier, the data showed.
China, the world's largest steel producer, exported mostly cold-rolled sheets - used in the automobile, white goods and consumer durable sectors. India also imported electrical sheets and pipes from China, the data showed.
In April, South Korea was the top exporter of finished steel by shipping out 0.2 million tonnes and accounting for 32% of India's overall imports.
However, India, the world's second-biggest crude steel producer, was a net exporter of finished steel in April, with 0.9 million tonnes sold to top buyers such as Italy, Spain, Vietnam, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates, the data showed.
In April, India's steel exports to Italy surged to their highest level in six years.
Europe is a key market for India's steel, and Indian steel makers are concerned over the European Union's plans to impose a levy on high-carbon goods imports from 2026, targeting imports of steel and a few other commodities.
Domestically, India's crude steel production stood at 10.7 million tonnes in April, up 3.2% from a year earlier.
India's steel consumption is expected to grow by 7.5% during the current fiscal year to March 2024, boosted by rising demand from the domestic construction, railway and capital goods sectors.
(Reporting by Neha Arora; editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Jason Neely)
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