Mumbai: India’s largest steel maker, Tata Steel Ltd, is betting big on local demand to help beat the global slowdown. Riding on the back of a 50% cut in steel prices, the company expects to sell 25% more this year.

“Let me describe the Indian demand in context to the global position. We came to the conclusion that 2009 demand for steel would be down by 15% compared with 2008. If we see the actual numbers this year between January and April, the world production and consumption is down by about 23% worldwide," managing director B. Muthuraman said. “India is the only shining star in that."

Muthuraman said he did not see any further fall in price. Even though domestic steel prices are at a 10% premium to international prices, buoyant demand in infrastructure and lower dependency on exports will help sustain price levels, he said. Tata Steel expects domestic steel demand to grow 6-7% this year.