ICRA Ratings said that Indian steel sector, amid strong earnings growth, started to aggressively deleverage since the second quarter of 2020-21. This trend is reflected by the industry’s consolidated debt levels declining to INR 2.0 lakh crore in end-July 2021, from INR 2.6 lakh crore in end-July 2020, registering a sharp decline of over 21% in a short span of a year. The industry’s consolidated borrowings today are at its lowest levels since March 2012. On taking a closer look at the industry’s consolidated borrowing per metric tonne of installed capacity, it stood at USD 180 per tonne in July 2021, shrinking by almost half from USD 350 per tonne prevailing in November 2008. This suggests that domestic steel companies are now significantly less leveraged than in 2008-09, when the last steel super cycle ended, following the global financial crises.ICRA Ratings upgraded Indian steel sector’s outlook to Positive from Stable following all large listed steel companies reporting their best ever quarterly performance in Q1 of 2021-22 and the earnings outlook remaining healthy for the remaining months of 2021-22.